Knoebels' Grove- July 8. A Post-diluvian TR

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Wednesday, July 12, 2006 12:21 AM
This trip had a dual purpose. First I needed to get out and do something since I spent the last week up to my ears in work, and also up to my knees in mud in the basement of some friends who got hit pretty hard in the recent flood. Second, I was curious to see how well the park had survived its own flooding.

I got to the park a little before 7. Driving up 487 from Elysburg, I passed a lot of cars coming from the park. Coming down the parkway, I could see a lot of the rides in Kiddieland up and running, even Old Smokey whose bed got pretty messed up. When I made the sharp turn toward the parking lot, I saw row after row of cars. The park was going to be crowded. Lots of out of state plates too. (This will fit into the report later).

I followed my usual strategy of heading to the front of the lot and looking for an empty spot from an early leaver. Scored a spot two rows back from the accessible spaces.

My first order of business was to do some reconnaisance, just to check out how the park looked and how well it recovered. Stop #1 was the pool. Next to the train station, I noticed the lemon shaped lemonade stand was back in its usual spot. Pictures from the flood showed it quite aways downstream.

Water was pouring from the stone fountain in the center, and the pool was pretty full. The water was a bit cloudy yet though, and the pool obviously wasn't open. There was a sign against the pool fence saying something to the effect of Please be patient while we clean up. The sign itself showed signs of wear-- obviously, it had been used several times before. I got a chuckle out of that.

Without going into great detail, I'll just say the only attractions I noticed were closed were the Panther Cars (sections of track removed, cars looking a little worse for the wear), Kozmo's Play Area, the Remote Boats, and the Twister photo area/ t-shirt shop. There may be some other smaller things closed in Kiddieland, but I didn't walk all through it.

Some of the rides that looked like they got hit pretty bad were open, including the S&G Carousel (I was really worried about that one after seeing the pics), the Motor Boats, and a lot of the Kiddie Rides. Americana and the Lost Logger were operating. Amazingly, the mini golf course was open too.

There were a few other small areas in need of repair-- a couple sections of railing along the edge of the mini-golf course, a few lights out or missing along the wall downstream of the covered bridge, one of the soldiers from the soldier bridge was knocked down and is "guarding" the panther cars. But the rest of the park was amazing, every bench and trash can was back where it belonged. There was even fresh mulch and flowers planted in many places. I made a point to tell a few employees what a great job I thought the park had done in getting back on its feet.

No water level signs up yet though, but from what I gather it will be above all but the '72 flood level (thankfully).

I only spent half an hour or so walking about, so that left plenty of time for a few rides. First up was Phoenix, which leads to the subtitle of this chapter-- "How the Hell Difficult Is It to Count to $1.80?" Maybe it was the large amount of non-regulars (first timers maybe), but every time I went to get in line for either coaster, there'd be a bottleneck at the ticket booth while some clueless soul stood there counting out the correct amount of tickets.

Even worse was if they were holding the tickets for someone else. (How much is it for the three of us?) I even noticed the ticket collectors hand back tickets to people who had handed over too many. It's bad enough if you can't count, but don't block the entryway to the ride while you impress us with your lack of mathematical skills.

Anyway, the rides were well worth the wait. The waits in the actual queues were minimal, maybe half dozen cycles for front and back seats, and much shorter for the others. With two train operation, both coaster crews were sending them right out.

One ride on Phoenix was row three, all the rest were row 2. Maybe it was all the rain and moisture from the past 2 weeks, but the trains were flying. The turnarounds were "you've got to be kidding," and the last run of bunny hops was "give me a refund because I hardly used that seat."

I did notice that row 4 was closed off all night, at the end of the night so was row 3. Don't know what that was about. Although one other clueless person though he'd get a walk on ride on row 4 till he nearly smacked his business on the chain across the aisle.

Twister was also running really well. I don't recall the train taking either S-curve so rapidly. When you feel the laterals in the curve after the first lift, you know you're in for it for the rest of the ride. Last year I had gotten away from riding the back of the train, but I decided to try the second seat from the back. I was quickly reminded of what I was missing-- being pulled down the hills and through the helices by the rest of the train. Sweet!

My second Twister ride provided another comedic moment. When I first got into the queue, I was quickly overtaken by a mob of kids and their moms. I went to hand my tickets to the collector and suddenly there were about 4 hands thrust in front of mine. Hello? didn't you ever hear of waiting your turn? Fortunately, one of the moms kept the kids from running ahead, so I was able to pass them out and head up the ramp.

I decided to go for a second row seat this time, and was quickly ushered into the next ride space by a group who was trying to ride together. I graciously accepted their offer, and soon found out that these people were the rest of the Meerkat pride. As I sat down to board the train, there was suddenly a flurry of activity on the platform.

Apparently, the rest of the herd had shown up and the entire group was reshuffling itself so this one could ride with that one, etc. Nice, except for one small detail, they were doing it out on the platform, not behind the queue. Totally oblivious to the ride op's calls of "stay behind the yellow line. You-- GET behind the yellow line" they just popped in and out between rows. Give me that mic, I'd straighten them all out. :)

In between rides on Phoenix and Twister, I bought a ticket for XD theatre, since I'd finally get to see something other than Arctic Run. The line was a few showings long, so I decided to ride the Skyview first then hit the theatre later. Nice peaceful ride just as dusk was setting in. Although we did have two momentary stops, one while I was directly over the road, and the second just before the turnaround. Can't help but notice the cell tower they installed at the top. Should help with coverage in the park.

Coming down the hill, the sky was deep blue and the park's lights were all on. Music was coming up from the band shell. I watched the light program on the ferris wheel for several minutes. That really is neat- something I've probably never watched all the way through in all the years I've been going there.

After that, I hit the theatre for the Haunted Mine. My advice is to take the second row of seats or at least avoid the ends of the front row. I thought the movie looked a bit grainy and fuzzy.

Followed that up with some night rides on both coasters (rides 4 & 5 on Phoenix, ride 3 on Twister). Made a dash over to the Old Mill for a cone of Tasty-Kake Peanut-Butter Tandy-take. Yeah I know, long title-- it's an eastern PA thing. Decided to sit and relax on a bench next to the creek with the carousel behind me and golf course across from me. Hardly ever do that in a park. Summertime, and the livin' is easy.

I also love the Turns more every time I see them, just the symmetry and curvature. They're really taking shape now-- what you can see on the webcam doesn't compare to seeing it in person. Can't wait to ride it. The floodlit American flag at the top of the construction also looks great.

All in all, I had a good time, except for some guest mentality-- at least I can laugh about it now. The park was crowded with campers, locals and a lot from out of the area. I'd say a few locals were probably there to forget about some of their troubles too. It's somehow reassuring seeing Knoebels come back from another setback-- just doing what has to be done. If you had second thoughts about going this summer, don't worry, just go. You'll have a great time for sure. I may even be there holding ticket counting classes at the Birthday pavilion. ;)

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Wednesday, July 12, 2006 12:38 AM
Great TR, it's good to hear that KG made it back so fast after all the damage (they have had a lot of experiece doing so)! I'm surprised mini golf and the train are back open so soon. I'll probably make a trip sometime next weekend. I haven't made it back since the flood... I live in Bloomsburg and am still cleaning up stuff from our basement that I didn't know we had!

As far as people standing in line to count their tickets, it is quite funny. It happens all the time. I remember a time when the ticket takers for Twister were taking riders' tickets when they entered the station instead of right at the beginning of the que. A girl and 5 of her friends got up their and just then realized they didn't have enough tickets to ride.

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Wednesday, July 12, 2006 6:36 AM
I believe that Knoebels could streamline the ticket system by going to 50 cent tickets only with rides priced from 1 to 4 tickets (except 6 tickets for the sky ride). Tickets would be sold individually or in books of 10 or 20. Old 10 cent and 20 cent tickets could be redeemed toward 50 cent tickets and old 50 cent tickets would remain good. Basically this would amount to using the same system that DelGrossos uses for individual ride pricing.

It is very nice to have a park that offers pay-per-ride at a price that is not expensive. Many other parks (Moreys, the Coney Island parks, etc) that have pay-per-ride charge much more, often $5 or more for some of the bigger rides.

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Wednesday, July 12, 2006 8:32 AM
It is really amazing that they cleaned up the park so fast.

Do any other parks have a pricing structure similar to Knoebels? Using single-price tickets is probably easier, especially for guests who aren't real swift with adding, but I kinda like the variable tickets prices. It allows for more subtle gradations in ride prices. And it allows Knoebels to easily change prices without having to restructure everything.

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Wednesday, July 12, 2006 11:22 AM

millrace said:
It is really amazing that they cleaned up the park so fast.

Practice... ;) To wit, "Please be patient while we clean up. The sign itself showed signs of wear-- obviously, it had been used several times before. I got a chuckle out of that."

Nice TR, RGB. Liked the Meerkat reference AND the ticket-counting classes. Maybe I'll be your TA for that... ;)

A little disappointed that RGB goes to MY favorite park on MY birthday and didn't even take me... LOL!


Note for all: Wooden coasters, treated lumber, lots of rain = :)

*** Edited 7/12/2006 3:23:28 PM UTC by rollergator***

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Wednesday, July 12, 2006 12:06 PM
Call me spoiled... but I have only been to Knoebels twice when it was at "Ticket Only" day. I like the wrist band option much better.

For me, its cheaper. With Knoebel's usually short lines, Ride after ride on Twister, Phoenix and the Flyers are not unsual for me (who needs to eat... who needs bath room breaks... ha!... Wusses, that's who!) and the Wrist band is just more economical (not to mention less hassel) for me.

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