Knoebel's, Astroland, SFGV, Dorney, & Hershey Park 7/18 - 7/23

Associated parks:
None

Thursday, July 24, 2008 8:11 PM
Knoebel's, July 18: What a great park! Loved the Scenic Skyride, Haunted Mansion, and of course Phoenix and Twister. My friend got the brass ring on the carousel on his first grab! Fandango is like a mini Delerium or Max Air and it is a lot of fun for such a smaller version of one of my favorite non-coaster rides. There is a clear reason why this park gets the Golden Ticket for food year after year - No Starbuck's no Papa John's Pizza, No Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream, etc... One piece of advice about food: Do not eat at the Alamo, stick with the amusement park food. Way to go Knoebel's! Keep up the good work!

Astroland, July 19: I sure hope the preservation and redevelopment efforts can find good common ground for this historic spot. Cyclone was fun, but we made the mistake of riding in the same seat. Two grown men (6’ plus and 200 lbs. each) do not ride together comfortably on that coaster! Luckily we had our $5 ready right away to ride again and this time we rode separately - much more comfortable. Walked the park, but we did not ride anything else. Came to ride the coaster and did. The beach was pretty crowded as it was very hot!

Six Flags Great Adventure, July 21: The buy one get one admission free deal with a Coke can can't be beat! Kingda Ka was great, but I think I still like TTD better. Maybe it is that I am an Ohio guy or the way Six Flags runs a park, but I like CP and KI so much better than any Six Flags Park I have ever been to. Kingda Ka went down while we were waiting in line, but no park employee made an announcement. We stood in the direct (and very hot) sunlight not moving, no coaster running and no announcement to at least give us the option of getting out of line and coming back later. Finally (about 15 - 20 minutes later), the ride began running again. Only three trains were running. The loading station is not very well laid out and the employees were not helpful to point out the two sides. Good for us, because we just went up and over and got right on, while others waited. I LOVED El Toro!!! It will not beat the Voyage or The Beast for my top two woodies, but it is certainly now my #3! We did not ride Dark Night, maybe the next time. Nitro is a great coaster. One of my favorites, for sure, but again, the ride operators at Six Flags just do not cut it. After visiting many different Six Flags parks over many years, I just can't seem to shake there are some management issues that show through at the rides. I am disappointed that Six Flags has adopted Papa John's for their pizza at Great Adventure. Papa John's is my least favorite pizza! Yuck! For me, amusement park food should be in house as much as possible. I understand the business side of making partnerships, but when you make partnerships, it should be unique. CF is as guilty of this as any. Oh well. I guess the days of unique park food are on the way out. I will say the park is much cleaner than the last time I visited six years ago. Good for Six Flags, because it was a filthy place last time I was there.

Dorney Park, July 22, 2008:

Another hot day so we arrived early. The rides had short lines and we rode all the major coasters in just over 2 hours. I love how Talon gets so close to the ground. Hydra’s Revenge is so much fun! The opening inversion out of the station plays great homage to Hercules and fulfills the mythology of the two. Voodoo is placed is a good location for the park. Thunderhawk gave us a couple of good rides. I love being able to ride old woodies. Villan or Raging Wolf Bobs from Geauga Lake would make a great addition to Dorney. With the loss of Hercules, the park could really use another wooden coaster. We left the park for lunch and visited Allentown Brew Works in downtown. This is a great brewpub. The food was creative (porter infused chocolate ice cream) and the beer was tasteful. It stormed while we were there so when we got back to the park, it was even less crowded, providing an excellent opportunity to ride this collection of exciting coasters again. Good day!

Hershey, July 23, 2008:

Clouds and light rain with heavy rain by late afternoon = empty park in the evening. We toughed it out before the heavy rain and rode almost all the coasters, except Lightning Racer, Wild Mouse, and Storm Runner. After the down pour and a trip to check into our hotel room we returned in the evening to a near empty park. We walked up to almost every coaster we rode. While none of these make it to my top 5 lists, it is certainly a great collection when put all together. Fahrenheit and Lightning Racer were by far my favorites. I love the lift and drop on Fahrenheit and I have not found a more thrilling racing wooden coaster than Lightning Racer. I really enjoyed the variety of music Hershey plays throughout the park. Food quality was pretty good. Most rides were not running with all available trains, creating some unnecessary wait time for several coasters. The most we waited, however, was 45 minutes for Fahrenheit. We enjoyed Chocolate World and spent some obligatory time in the gift shop filling up on a variety of candies for friends and family. Hershey was a great park overall. The workers were very friendly and welcoming. I appreciated their hospitality, especially compared to some of the other parks we visited.

Favorite coasters of this trip: Nitro, El Toro, Lightening Racer, Phoenix, Fahrenheit, Hydra The Revenge, and Cyclone.

Friendliest Park: Hershey

Best Thrills: Six Flags

Best Wooden: El Toro

Best Steel: Nitro

Best Park Food: Knoebel’s

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Friday, July 25, 2008 12:22 AM
Short but sweet TR. I mean, the TR wasn't short, but the descriptions were short and sweet. :) What, NO Storm Runner?

Mostly everyone prefers TTD, so it's not just cuz you're an Ohio player. I haven't ridden either yet, but I've heard Top Thrill is a much smoother and more comfortable ride. Personally, I don't like the idea of being 400+ feet in the air with nothing but a lapbar, so Kingda Ka feels like something I would like better, but I have no REAL comparison for ya.

Lightning Racer is great, isn't it? I just said recently that I'm not a huge GCI fan, but I love LR, especially the Lightning train. It's so much fun, it's fast, and it has just a little bit of a thrill factor on the drop. I'm so thankful to have a coaster like this relatively close to me.

You didn't say much about Cyclone. Does this ride still deliver? I can't stand Thunderhawk at Dorney, but I appreciate the historical aspect of it. Is Cyclone a better ride? I know it's still a winner in coaster enthusiast eyes, but no one seems to have much to say about it.

And I'll say it one more time just to be super annoying (or super enthusiastic if you're looking at it from another perspective): TORO TORO TORO TORO!!! I miss my Toro. I crave it. If I do not get another ride on it soon, I'm going to go bonkers. LOL

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Friday, July 25, 2008 6:47 AM
Thanks for the reply. We did ride Storm Runner, but it is not one of my favorites. After walking around the park in the rain and waiting for it to run, I had the impression it would be a much longer ride than it was. I enjoyed the launch and many of the elements, it just seemed to end abruptly. Once I take everything into account and have processed the whole trip, I would guess it might make it into my top 15 steel and Fahrenheit might eek into the top 10 steel. I love those Intamin coasters - especially the pre-over the should harnesses ones like Superman and my favorite, Millenium Force.

You asked about Cyclone. I did not say much because it was about what I expected: Old and painful, especially when we rode in the same seat. OUCH! Riding single was better, but even that ride was rough. For me, this ride was mostly about nostalgia. I think the nostalgia factor is what makes people rank it so high in their lists. If you look at it from a ride element perspective, the ride doesn't have what many other coasters today do: smooth exhilaration.

Finally, I agree with your comments about El Toro. It is Thursday morning and I just woke up with a strong desire to get back in the car and head east to ride El Toro: a great ride!

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Friday, July 25, 2008 10:27 AM
While I like Ka, and GAdv is the nearby park to me, I'll also say that TTD was a better ride. I think the launch system is more intense and the station setup is better planned out. Can't beat the speed meter either, though I can't say I actually saw the number more than once on the way up the hill.

I personally give the nod to El Toro as my favorite wood coaster, but also have to credit Lightning Racers as a very close second just because it kept the speed the entire trip and was just a fun ride all around. I only wish the could be another Chocolate-Buzz event, but I doubt that will happen.

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Friday, July 25, 2008 11:19 AM

bunky666 said:
You didn't say much about Cyclone. Does this ride still deliver?

I expected a rough and tumble ride that would be painful. Instead, I got a rough and tumble ride that was out of this world! To me, the Cyclone is what a wooden coaster should be. It has a fairly intimidating first drop. It has a little out of the seat action. It has turns that will send you into the person sitting next to you or send the person sitting next to you into you. If you ride alone you get to slide from side to side in the car!

While it isn't my favorite wooden coaster, it is definitely up there. That says a lot for a coaster that is over seventy years old.

My only disappointment was that it was so expensive. Eight bucks for the first ride and five bucks to stay on for another ride is a bit steep and kept me from riding more than a few times.

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Saturday, July 26, 2008 12:49 AM
I noticed that Cyclone was a bit expensive, but then I thought about ride tickets and getting on most of the rides at different boardwalks and things of that nature, and I realized that Cyclone is only slightlly more pricey than most of these fair/carnival/boardwalk rides. Most of them are between 3-5 dollars, and they are not full-on AMUSEMENT PARK rides like a coaster. I mean, I pay 4 or 5 bucks to ride Tidal Wave at Ocean City, MD, (or I USED to pay that when I didn't get a ride bracelet. It's always closed now when I want to ride it). I pay about 5 bucks for a ride on the Zipper...the Cyclone seems to fit in with the general ride cost when you figure in that it's only 5 bucks for a re-ride.

So is the Cyclone eight dollars only the first time you ride it, or is it eight dollars every time you leave the queue and come back to ride it again? Are you allowed to stay on it for a second ride, or do you have to ride it, get off, walk around, and re-ride?

I'm debating over whether or not to go to Great Adventure tomorrow. It's supposed to be crappy weather, and I really can't afford the trip with Cedar Point being so close in my future, but I am seriously jonesing for Toro. I wish Toro was at Dorney. Of course, if Toro was at Dorney, I'd likely lose my job because I'd be calling out all the time to go sit on this particular bull all day long every day. LOL Probably good that it's almost two hours away. Thrillfan, I'm so glad you enjoy Toro as much as I do. If someone would have told me at the beginning of this summer that a wooden roller coaster would eclipse everything else I had ever ridden and likely WILL ride as the favorite, I would have laughed them out of my house. Now I've gotta ride Voyage someday and see if I still feel that way about Toro, but I can't imagine why I would like Voyage better. Lightning Racer keeps the pace from beginning to end, but I didn't find it THRILLING like I find Toro, so I doubt that Voyage will top my list. I'll have to see...perhaps I will hit Holiday World when I go to Cedar Point...I'll be out that way, after all.

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Saturday, July 26, 2008 1:16 AM
Great Adventure on a Saturday in the summer = major trouble, or at least I think it would be. I'd think rise and scream is next Saturday so at least you would get some ERT in if crowds are bad (and you would think it would be on KK and ET since the first one was in movietown and the 2nd rise and scream was in the boardwalk)
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Saturday, July 26, 2008 9:14 AM

bunky666 said:
So is the Cyclone eight dollars only the first time you ride it, or is it eight dollars every time you leave the queue and come back to ride it again? Are you allowed to stay on it for a second ride, or do you have to ride it, get off, walk around, and re-ride?

It is eight dollars each time you get off the ride and requeue. As long as you pay five dollars you can stay on the ride, even in the same seat (not having to even get out of the car)

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Saturday, July 26, 2008 4:55 PM
I really hope to do the Cyclone before summer is out. Sounds like it's worth a spin (or two or three or four). LOL

How'd you like Phoenix versus Twister? I found Phoenix to be a lot of fun and a TAD scary with all that airtime because I COULDN'T sit down at points, but Twister to ME had a much better drop and was surprisingly smooth given that it is a twister woodie (I've found those typically to be rougher like Wildcat at Hershey). I know a few people who actually PREFER Twister. Not many, but....to this day, I'm not exactly sure why I prefer Phoenix over Twister because that day that I rode them, I wasn't sure which I liked better, but Phoenix gives me a much more fond memory at the end of the day. Perhaps it is the nostalgia factor.

I'm glad you liked Dorney, by the way. It's not the most thrilling park, but the coasters really are not a bad little collection. I can't wait for the next new one. :)

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Saturday, July 26, 2008 5:23 PM
Phoenix vs. Twister?? Oh gee! I enjoyed both in different ways. I like the story and history behind each, that makes them both charming. For thrills, I liked Phoenix a little better. I am an airtime junkie, so I tend to lean towards more out and back designs for wooden coasters. Hence, my favorite wooden is The Voyage. Phoenix fits somewhere in the top 20 wooden.
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