Knoebels, Elysburg, Pennsylvania, USA
Since I haven't seen anyone else post a trip report for Knoebels opening day I figured I'd go ahead and post one. It's been a while since I've done a trip report on here. ACE and the Western NY Coaster Club were in attendance, and had ERT set up. I wasn't part of that crowd, but I did enjoy talking with some of them about coasters and parks.
I'll start by saying that I am a huge Knoebels fan, and have gone to every opening day and Phunfest for at least the last 10 years. They have made a lot of improvements in the off season that are report worthy. Both the Phoenix and the Twister had significant track work done which improved both of them, but more on that later.
We arrived at 1200 time, and the parking lot was already filling up fast. Opening days at Knoebels have gotten considerably more crowded over the past 2 - 3 years then they have been previously. Which brings me to my first complaint about the operations on the Phoenix and Twister. One train operation on both of the coasters, and the queues were full. They had both trains ready and chose not to run with both. It reminded me of a move that Six Flags would pull. With the kind of crowds they had it's pretty much inexcusable if you ask me. I've seen other days there where they had both trains running on both, and it wasn't near as crowded as today.
Onto the Phoenix. With the track work that was done it made for an exceptional ride. Great airtime, and smooth ride. What more can you ask for? It's an exceptional coaster, and deserves all the attention it receives. Easily a top 5 wooden coaster for me. I think I could stay on it all day and not get tired of riding. I'd just like to be able to move and ride it in every seat on the train to find my favorite spot. Surprisingly today it was the back of the train that was the best ride, and I usually prefer it in the front most of the time. It seemed to have a more forceful ride, and still smooth at the same time.
Twister. With the track work that was done by GCI it has instantly become more rerideable. I can't remember it every tracking that well since it opened. Other enthusiasts were saying they preferred riding it over the Phoenix, but that wasn't the case for me. I love the Phoenix, and the Twister is just above average. We rode it twice today, but again the line was so long from single train operation that had we not had to wait so long we would have ridden it more.
Black Diamond was now included on the all day ride band. I have enjoyed this ride since it was at Wildwood NJ as the Golden Nugget Mine Ride, and Knoebels have kept it intact and added interesting elements to it that wasn't there before. The one thing I loved when it was down in Wildwood was riding on the roof, and the turns in and out of the building that added a lot to the ride. The views of the beach and the boardwalk were incredible from the ride, and that's something Knoebels can't replicate.
The Flying turns line was long. It was averaging a 2 hour wait for the whole day. We opted not to ride it today, and will ride it when the line is shorter. We'd gotten to ride it at Phunfest in the fall, and only waited about 40 minutes. It's a great ride, but not worth the 2 hour wait.
We walked around and rode other rides. We didn't ride the StratosFear(Drop ride) last year, and got a lap on it today. It's a good addition to the park, and at 148' you get a nice view of the park before you drop.
There was a lot of new signage and fresh paint. With the winter as bad as it was here I am surprised that they had everything ready to go like they did this year. It's the freshest the park has looked on an opening day in a few years. They did an exceptional job having the park ready to go. Power Surge was sent out to have the ride refurbished, and should be ready to go in the summer.
We are looking forward to their 2015 steel coaster project. It's going to be a good addition for the park, and just what they needed since they took out the Whirlwind to build the Flying Turns. The station will be in the area where the bumper boats and the boat tag rides are. They are being removed to make way for the new coaster.
We spent a good part of the day just walking around and riding flat rides that didn't have long waits. Got to catch the rings on the Grand Carousel at least one time when we are there. Didn't get to ride the bumper cars, the Looper, and the flyers because they were just too long of wait for us.
We left the park at around 5 pm before everyone was in a rush to leave at 6 pm. It was good opening day overall, and we'll be back later in the season to ride what we didn't get to.
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