I had always heard the park was in the middle of nowhere. Going through miles of roads with nothing and small towns was interesting. When we arrived at the parking area I couldn't believe how crowded it was. The parking area was almost full. It was great not seeing any parking booths since it is of course free to park.
It was close to 1:00 and we decided to eat before going on any rides. Everyone says to go to the International Foodcourt and that is where I wanted to go but I got outvoted and we went to The Alamo instead. I couldn't believe the prices on the menu. $3.25 for a tuna salad sandwich?! I was shocked, but not the usual park pricing shocked. This was the opposite as I couldn't believe how cheap it was. That would be ridiculously cheap for a regular restaurant but for a resturaunt inside a park it almost didn't seem real. They brought out the sandwich with a huge pile of chips. The total bill with tip for 4 people was under $25. Amazing.
First ride of the day was the Haunted Mansion. It was probably the best non Disney dark ride I have been on. The effects and surprises were great and I liked the lift to the 2nd floor. There was quite a lot to see in the ride.
We went to the Log Flume next. It had a long line but was only 15 minutes. I expected the part after the 2nd lift before the final drop to be longer but it was still a decent ride.
Phoenix's line was into the midway but they had 2 trains running and it was around 15 minutes. I thought it was a really good coaster but I think I had overhyped it based on everything I read and was a little let down by it. I loved the buzz bars with no seatbelts and got crazy air time but I thought it was longer than it acutally was (RCDB says it is 3200 feet but it seemed shorter while on the rider). I would have liked to ride it more than once to give it another chance to see if it could be a top 3 coaster for me but I didn't have time as we had figured we would spend 2 - 3 hours at most in the park but ended up spending over 5 hours and that was without going on any ride more than once.
The antique cars were great. The track going through Phoenix was cool and I liked how it was a very long track especially compared to the short tracks at Hershey and Dorney. With BGW's car ride gone, this is now my favorite non Disney car ride.
Flying Turns looks great and I wish it would have been opened since I don't know when I'll be getting back to the park again.
We took the train ride and saw the pool which we all agreed looked like something out of an old park picture (not a bad thing) and the water slides looked fun for what they were. I couldn't believe how far the train went back into the woods and was nice at around a 7 minute trip. The squirrels eating the corn on the sticks at the turn around were cool as well.
I went to Twister next which was a station wait also with 2 trains running. The section after the first lift was a nice surprise and I liked how the main drop wasn't a curved drop like most Twister coasters. The layout was great and I liked it a lot more than Phoenix. It was also strange not having seatbelts on this coaster since going up the first hill after the first drop I was lifted out of my seat so much I was almost afraid I was going to fall out and had to hold on. That really long banked turn was great as well.
We went to the boats which reminded me a little of the boats they used to have at Dorney but were removed around 10 years ago (thanks a lot Cedar Fair). These were neat to drive but difficult to steer. Because the boat in front of me got stuck, I ended up bumping into them. Then another boat passed both of us and then those 2 boats got stuck and I was able to pass both of them. They ended up needing help to get moving again and I saw it happen a few times.
We then went to the bumper cars. The first great thing was getting into the car and I go to buckle the seatbelt and am told I don't have to wear it as it is really only for little kids. I knew these bumper cars have a great reputation and they lived up to it. The bumps were very strong and the cycle had to have been twice as long as a normal cycle at other parks. Easily the best bumper cars I have ever tried.
I wanted to try High Speed Thrill Coaster but it had at least a 15 minute line so I was going to skip it since I felt kind of funny waiting that long for a kiddie coaster.
Next was the Whip. Nice to see no seatbelts on this ride either and them not being strict about only 2 people per car. This was probably the 2nd worst ride of the day as the car slowed down halfway into one of the turns and the other turn wasn't fast either. Of the 3 whips I have been on (the other 2 being Hershey and Dorney's) this was easily the worst. At this point I felt like I was at the opposite of Cedar Fair with no silly rules and no seatbelts added to everything.
We went to the 2nd train which wasn't that great after going on the larger train. It just went around in 2 circles and went through the station in both directions.
High Speed Thrill Coaster had a 2 train wait on the way out so I quickly grabbed the credit. The mini buzz bar like restraints were interesting and I got some air time on the return hills. I also thought it was neat how the operator slows down the lift almost to a stop on the final lap and then shuts off the lift completely.
We also stopped in the mining musuem and the carousel musuem which was a nice way to cool off from the heat and see some interesting items. It was cool to learn that they stopped adding animals other than horses to carousels because kids were getting scared of the animals like tigers.
Overall it was an excellent trip. If you combine every ride we went on, it was 25 rides total and we spent just under $35 in tickets which was amazing. Even with buying tickets for half price on the Ocean City, NJ boardwalk piers, the rides at Knoebels were still less at full price.
Not counting Disney, I think it was the best overall park experience since there were plenty of rides for everyone in my family which is something a lot of parks are lacking. I think the park could use a good steel coaster and they would have the perfect park but I still prefer the major parks with the B&M's.
Did you feel a little bit like you were going to get hacked into pieces by a madman when you went out into the woods on that train ride? LOL
Knoebels used to, if I remember correctly, have a steel coaster, but they sold it to another park because steel just wasn't their "thing".
I didn't get to ride the Flyers or the Haunted Mansion last time I was there because the line for the Mansion looked huge and the Flyers were too scary for the kiddies I had with me. I'm planning on heading out there again by the end of summer, so hopefully I'll get to experience them. I've heard nothing but wonderful things about the haunted mansion ride.
Glad to see you enjoyed the park!
"Look at us spinning out in the madness of a roller coaster" - Dave Matthews Band
They had a Jet Star. It wasn't a favorite of the maintenance department, but I don't know if that's why they got rid of it. They replaced it with a Vekoma corkscrew. It was a very short ride, not to mention the usual Vekoma bangage. They took that out to make room for the Flying Turns, which ironically isn't going to be a much longer ride.
I arrive this coming Sat. for a week long stay at a cottage just outside the kiddie area. We'll be doing day trips here and there but every night we'll be back for sure to enjoy the park and The Mahoney Brothers as entertainment all week.
I really had hoped that Flying Turns would be open by now but it won't make or break our trip. I'll still wear my FT t-shirt I bought 2 yrs. ago.
The thing about the Phoenix is that even if you feel it's a 'short' ride, the relatively short wait makes it palatable. Waiting a substantial time like at some parks would really make the length of a Phoenix ride feel like you were shortchanged.
But the flip side of that is that if you don't have an armband, you go through your tickets really fast because Phoenix is so much fun :)
My intention next week is to wait till Mon. and buy $150 worth of tickets at 15% off and use them throughout the week. If the FT were open then I may have opted to 'wristband' one day or night.
Yoshi mentioned the food, except for breakfast, we intend to eat our way around the park. Awesome selection, great value.
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