Knoebels, Elysburg, Pennsylvania, USA
Arrived in Elysburg and Knoebels right at noon, and noticed the changes in the skyline of the park right away. Coming up to the parking lot we could see Impulse testing. What a beautiful sight. Legitimate steel at a park known for their wooden masterpieces. No it's not a B&M, Intamin, Premier, Vekoma, Mack, or S&S/Arrow. Instead they went with Zierer.
The same company that installed a wonderful coaster in place of one of my favorites at Busch Gardens Williamsburg. Verbolten paid honor to the Big Bad Wolf, but also created easily one of the most ridable coasters that I have ever been on in my life. Everything about it is almost perfect. The theming, pacing, and the intensity are spot on. It makes it easy to take a first timer on that ride alongside a seasoned ACE/Coasterbuzz Club member and both would find equal enjoyment.
Looking at Impulse it's amazing how they fit all of that in such a small footprint. It's all that and them some. No It's not a launched B&M wing coaster, or record breaking giga, but it's perfect for a park the size of Knoebels. It they had told me that they were going to build a new steel coaster there 5-10 years ago I would've laughed, and asked, "What park did they buy it from?" They actually did build a new custom coaster.
The operations on Impulse were impressive. They were dispatching the trains right at the interval. We were told it would be an hour waiting and at 42 minutes we boarded. Comfortable seats and restraints. The vertical lift always help keep the footprint smaller, and it works perfectly here. I am surprised that they didn't go with an over vertical drop like their close neighbor(My home park,) Hersheypark. It doesn't matter as soon as you crest the 98' lift hill is when the fun begins. The ride is well paced, and just flat out fun. You look at it and you think how did mash 4 inversions in that footprint, and do it so gracefully. That's exactly what they did. 7 out of 10. It's not a top 10, but it is a lot of fun.
If you've ever been to Canobie Lake Park, and rode Untamed you'd probably think like I did that they are similar rides, and there isn't anything wrong with that. Fun coasters in small footprints. You can't go wrong. It's a perfect fit for Knoebels, and with the redone Ferris Wheel(can't wait to see the LED lighting package,) standing almost next to it will make that area of the park much more crowded then it previously was.
The park was really crowded with the nice Sunny weather. No it wasn't super warm, but it was nice enough to where pants and a short sleeved shirt. When coming for opening day you are better off buying tickets, and hitting the rides that you want to ride. There were 4 of us in our group(my wife, daughter, her friend Samantha, and me,) so it cost us $64 for all day ride bands, but if we were thinking smarter with the size of the crowds we could've gotten away with buy about $20-$30 in tickets to ride the amount that we did. Just a tip I'd pass onto others that are visiting either at the beginning of the year or at the end of the year for the halloweekends too.
The reason I suggest that is that for the ride bands they don't frequently run all available trains on their coasters. Phoenix was running both, and it was running wonderfully at that. We never made it over to the Twister, so I can't tell you if they were running both. Flying Turns had 2 on most of the day, and went down to 1 toward the end of the day. They added a new train this season to a total of 4 for that ride, and only running 1? It's almost like a six flags move, and that one thing that I don't about Knoebels operations on ride band days.
I am close enough that I visit Knoebels in all 3 seasons of the year, and usually my most enjoyable time is in the Summer when they don't have the all day ride bands. Their operations are more efficient when charging per ride. It's also nice to swim in the Crystal pool on a 90 degree day and dive into that cool mountain water.
With the rest of the rides offered they have a great collection of classics, and modern rides. That's one of the things that make the park so special. The relocated is Black Diamond is a great example of an old ride given a new modern twist on what it was in Wildwood NJ. That's what I love about Knoebels.Making a bobsled coaster in modern times is a feat in itself, but when it's so much fun and rerideable makes it that much better. I'd love to see other parks adopt their philosophy that knocking old rides down for new modern ones isn't always the best approach. I think that's why enthusiasts hold the park in such regard.
This is the first trip report I've written in a while, and it took my fourth park visit of the season to bring it out of me. Hope you enjoy!
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