I am going to Pittsburgh in early June, and want to also hit one of these parks while in PA. Unfortunately there will only be time to go to one of the parks due to family obligations. If you had to pick one, where would you go?
*** This post was edited by chris on 5/2/2001. ***
Oh that's a tough one. Both are worth the trip. But since Hershey IS a "corporate" park, like so many others, and you must have been to a few of those, no question, do Knoebels. And see the difference for yourself. You will know why the phrase "old fashioned family style park" really applies! I bet all out there who have been to both will say the same thing (right, folks?). ------------- oh well a touch of grey kind of suits you anyway
Knoebels is, hands down, my absolute favorite park. Provided you are not expecting the "grandness" of a theme park, it is a wonderful place, and the two wooden coasters alone will keep you more than happy for a day.
However, Hershey is one of the nicest, most beautiful "corporate" parks around, and there is something to be said for the quantity and quality of their rides. They have three great wooden coasters, and the Great Bear, which is a highly underrated inverted B&M. You won't be disappointed at Hershey, either.
Anyways, I've been to Hershey twice. It's a fun park, and beautiful in parts. But it's small...not an all-day park. It's worth the trip though. Their two newest wooden coasters are exceptional (Lightning Racer and Wildcat).
Rob Ascough, you said it better than I did. I agree totally.
Martling, I beg to differ that Hershey is not an all day park. I will be there in June and look forward to spending MORE hours there each day (2 days planned) than I did two years ago. And that's after entering "at the opening bell." At knoebels if the crowds are light (weekday) then you maybe could leave earlier in the day. I have only done 1 day visits there and it seemed enough(two separate summers). ------------- oh well a touch of grey kind of suits you anyway
My advice, flip a coin. Either way you can't go wrong.
While every one above is correct, Hershey is a corporate park, it is closer to a traditional amusement park than other corporate theme parks (Six Flags and Parmount parks). I would hardly call it a corporate park "like so many others." The only "characters" you will find walking around are Hershey products (giant walking Mr.Goodbars, Reeses Peanut Butter Cups, Hershey Kisses etc)and you will not find any rides named after super heros. I also beg to differ on the above opinion that Hershey is not an all day park. True, I rarely stay from opening to closing, but I have often put in a good 8 hour day.
Knoebels on the other hand is tratditional amusment park all the way. To those who were brought up in the era of big corporate theme parks, it will appear a bit lack luster, however it has a charm all of its own. This has got to be one of the most laid back parks around.
As for the coaster department, Hershey wins the Quantity award, but Knoebels slightly edges Hershey out in the Quality department. Both have exelent coasters. Hershey has Wildcat and Lightning Racer (two exelent GCI woodies) and the highly UNDERATED and (unfairly) much maligned Great Bear B&M inverted (this is truely a great ride, though short). From the historical point of view it has sooperdooperlooper, first looping coaster on the east coast, and the venerable old Comet. A standard boomerang (Sidewinder), a very short and slow mine train (Trail Blazer), and a very wild Wild Mouse round out the coaster count.
Knoebels has one lack luster coaster (the corkscrew Whirlwind) and two great ones. Twister, modeled after the legendary Mr.Twister, late of Elitch Gardens, is a very good coaster. However the masterpiece is Pheonix. A Herb Schmeck design (like Hershey's Comet), this coaster may not be the biggest, but it is truely one of the best.
For Pheonix alone I would say the nod should go to Knoebels. But either way, you can't go wrong.
------------- I promise I won't go off on a rant about those @#$%^&*! Toboggan's again.
*** This post was edited by SLFAKE on 5/2/2001. ***
In my opinion, both are all-day parks. Hershey definitely requires a day if you want to see and ride everything, and depending on the size of the crowd, you may need part of a second day if you want to re-ride all of the great rides, like Wildcat, Lightning Racer, Great Bear, Comet, etc.
Knoebels CAN be done in less than a day, but to rush through Knoebels just to add coasters to your track record defeats the purpose of going there in the first place. The park is beautiful to see in the daytime, but once it gets dark, you are in for an experience like no other. Its really just beyond words!
If you chose to go to Knoebels, perhaps you can make a stop at Lakemont Park or Williams Grove, that way you can experience what those parks have to offer and then head off to Knoebels for most of the day!
I have been to both parks many, many, many, many, times. Knoebels is in my backyard basicly and Hershey is an hour and fifteen minute drive for me.
Each park is a truely great experiance. Hershey has more coasters, more shows and the typical theme park atmosphere. They just give it a little extra touch compared to other corporate parks.
Knoebels on the other hand is a one of a kind experiance. It still has the feel of a park in the 20's or 30's. They have two superb woodies, a blah corkscrew, and a kiddie sized coaster that delivers like regular sized one.
Then they also have their ledgendary Lusse Auto Scooters, these are the only bumper cars I've ridden that actually hit instead of bounce off another car.
Their Flyers "flying scooters" are run at a speed most parks wouldn't think of trying. These can actually be scary for first timers when you get some good cable snaps.
The Haunted Mansion is also another classic ride. So few of this style remain and this is one of the elite.
I'd tell anyone to spend a full day at Knoebels. Durring the week you can easily get your moneys worth out of the handstamp by mid afternoon. Lines are usually minimal then. Weekends can get a bit busy though and they only sell tickets then.
Either park you pick I think you'll enjoy. I personally think most people only heard of Knoebels and think 2 woodies a kiddie coaster and double corkscrew. There's more to Knoebels than just the coasters. To me it's a truly magical place. ------------- Hello, My name is Dan and I'm a coasterholic.
This IS a tough one - I love both parks, and look forward to visiting them again this summer. But if I had to pick just one ... Hmmm. I kinda have a rule of thumb about coasters - I'd rather go 500 miles out of my way to a park that has one great coaster than to go to a nearby park with five decent ones. For example, I enjoyed all the coasters at SFOG, but I was BLOWN AWAY by Rampage at Visionland - so even though SFOG has about a 10:1 coaster ratio, I'd go back to VL in a second.
Sooo, based on this highly personal theory, I'd choose Knoebel's. Why? Because although Hershey has several excellent coasters (i.e. the ones named above) there is only one Phoenix - a classic, a masterpiece, a freakin' airtime MACHINE - possibly the best coaster I've ever been on. But, like many have said, you can't go wrong either way. ------------- Age and treachery will always overcome youth and skill.
Thanks for all the advice everyone! I think I am going to go to Kennywood and Hersheypark in June, and then go back to PA in August for another Kennywood trip, Knoebel's, and Lakemont. Can't wait!
*** This post was edited by chris on 5/3/2001. ***
Dude. While opinions may very, the plain and simple FACT is that there really is no comparison. Hersheypark is totally superior and by far the better park in every category. HP is usually mentioned in the same breath with places like Cedar Point and oh by the way, they also won the 2000 Applause Award.... Someone must think that they have a pretty good amusement park.
*** This post was edited by Superstew on 5/3/2001. ***
As far as the overall experience goes knoebels is second to none. It's not a full blown thrill park but it has a magic you will never ever see anywhere else. Plus there are some amazing, original rides.
Knoebels was only behind the Point for best park. Second to Holiday World in Friendliest Staff. They won for best food beating out Kennywood. And their Haunted Mansion was only beat out by Spider Man at IOA for best indoor attraction. In the wood coaster list Knoebels and Holiday World are the only two parks to have two top 25 woodies. Hersheys Wildcat was in at (17) Lightning Racer was two new for the list.
Hershey wasn't on any of these lists. I'm not bashing Hershey, it is a great park. It has to be to get the Applause Award. I'm just supporting the little guy here with.
------------- Hello, My name is Dan and I'm a coasterholic.
*** This post was edited by coasterpunk on 5/3/2001. ***
I just wanted to thank everyone who contributed to this thread and helped me out. I went to Hershey the first week of June, and had a blast. I will be headed back in August to check out Lakemont and Knoebel's.
*** This post was edited by chris on 6/18/2001. ***