Knoebels (Sun, 5/22/2005)

Associated parks:
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Tuesday, May 24, 2005 11:21 AM
On one of the final operating weekends of 2004 I visited Knoebels and along with my “ride all day” wrist band, I received a coupon for a Ride all Day good for a weekend in May 2005, so this past Sunday I decided to take advantage of that.

The trip there took the customary 2 hours, and this was even with the construction site on I-81 and the State Police “Click or Ticket” check point at the entrance to the park. My first order of business was to get my all day pass (no wrist bands this year, just a hand stamp). My second order of business was to buy a sweat shirt! It was overcase and breezy and I was wearing a T-shirt and shorts and I was FREEZING! That business aside, I headed for Phoenix…

Wait… Stop… the way I cross crossed the park, instead of confusing everyone and doing a “Rode this… then walked here.. then rode that…” blah blah blah I’ll just do a summary in the order of which I first rode each one….

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Phoenix: 12 rides. Basically a walk on all day. There were slight waits for specific seats (front and back) but not long. Every time I go to Knoebels, I am simply amazed at the dispatch times. Train pulls into the station… bars are released… people climb out… people climb in… bars are pulled down… ops make a quick check… boom! Train enters the tunnel. I swear, a few times I heard the next train rolling away even before I hit the bottom of the exit ramp. I love this coaster, nothing more to say. All in all, this is a front seat coaster for me… great air at the top of the hills and on the bunny hops. While seat 1:3 has some of the best air… I like seat 1:2 the best. It’s just a bit smoother for me.

Fandango: 1 ride. Great fun ride, not much more to say. Elsewhere it was commented about the belts not closing for some (or not being present at all). Well, I was one of the folks who couldn’t quite get the belt to latch. The OTSR closed and locked, but the belt would just not latch. It was a fraction of an inch short. The op said not to worry… “As long as I see that green light, you are locked in…” Okay… Don’t worry he said. I knew that… however… it was quite a religious experience… not because it was a heavenly ride… but because I had never done so much praying during a ride cycle in my entire life! Fun ride… yes. But I didn’t ride it again… I want wait until I shed a few pounds (and inches around the middle) before doing that again.

Twister: 10 rides. This coaster earns more and more respect from me the more I ride it. Like the Phoenix, I think this is a front seat coaster. I like the visuals and the pops of air at the top of the second and third hills and during that screaming run before the tunnel. As with Phoenix… incredible dispatch time! Load ‘em, lock’em, send ‘em through, simple as that.P P P P Hanuted Mansion: 1 ride. Nothing needs to be said about this ride that has not already been said. Still the best around. I swear every year that it gets darker in there!

Log Flume: 2 rides. Still one of my favorite flumes… great sitting in those trees. Great drop. Granted, it was a little chilly on Sunday. Just glad the sun had decided to come out by that time.

Lunch: between Phoenix rides, A Prime Rib sandwich and a Pepsi at the one place near Phoenix and the Log Flume. Still one of my favorite park foods. Only thing better would have been if it were a Prime Rib sandwich and a Coke… but Knoebels is a Pepsi park (okay… there… I can find ONE thing negative about Knoebels!)

Scenic Sky Way: 1 ride. I like that ride up the mountain. So quiet up there, and great views of the park on the way down. I forget what year this opened (last? The one before?) but when ever it was, I rode it on its first or second day of operation. I don’t like heights and it kind of freaked me out. While it is not that high off the ground, when you turn around at the top and look out over the valley and park below you, it gives the impression that it is a heck of a lot higher than it really is! Well, that initial fear is gone now… and I really like the ride. A good way to take a little rest from the park.

1001 Nacth: 1 ride: I rode this a few years ago and decided to give it another try. I don’t remember the restraints crushing my pelvis back then they way they did this time.

Down Draft: 1 ride: I rode this a few years ago… and decided to try it again. I know why I had not ridden it since. I got so dizzy… and I think I might have strained my neck muscles… talk about high lateral G forces! More than on any coaster I ever experiences. Well, perhaps not stronger… but more constant for a longer period of time.

Merry Mixer: 1 ride: First time on this. Standard type scrambler ride… nothing special about this. Oh well… just wanted to ride it because I never ridden it before.

Pioneer Train: 1 ride: Always liked this one… neat to go under Twister… nice ride through the woods. Plenty of squirrels dining on the ears of corn at the turn around.

Whirl Wind: 0 rides (of course)…. Because Whirl Wind went with the wind. It’s sight is sitting empty. What surprised me is how small of a footprint it actually occupied.

Stony Gabels: Okay… I complain about my “expanding waist” line and not getting the belt closed on Fandango… but it’s my own damned fault. I gotta exercize more and eat better… so a stop at Stony Gabels kind of defeats that purpose. However… since I wasn’t going to be eating anything I bought there until I got home… it wouldn’t affect this visit to the park. Chocolate Turtles and some Walnut Maple Fudge please.

The Flyers: 11 (or was it 14) rides. Each time I passed the Flyers I had go hop a ride, so by the end of the day I had logged 5 rides. After getting my goodies from Stony Gabels, I decided to close out the day on the Flyers. Boarding my “tub” and tucking my bag of candy under my sweatshirt so it would not go flying, I was set. Had a few good snaps. The park was closing at 7pm that night, and 7pm was fast approaching… so I decided to ride these until closing time. The first couple of times I got off and got right back on. On one of these rides there were 4 of us on there who had some wild snapping going on. If you would fly Hershypark’s Flyers like we flew Knoebels, they would have probably closed the ride. Heck… what I am talking about… they probably would have evacuated the entire park! I have to admit that while I had a few good snaps, but there was this one guy who had some that would have made parents waiting in line fear for the lives of their small children!

Anyway… when the ride ended, there was no one waiting in line. Some of the folks got off… but the one person asked… “can we just stay on instead of just getting off and on again?” The op said that was fine so 3 of us stayed on. By this time, two more kids came up to the line and boarded. Another wild ride. When it was over, and the ride came to a stop, the op asked, “Anyone want off?” The two kids got off, and the one guy’s buddy opted too as well (he was staggering… nearly sick). So, with only two of us on the ride, the op cranked it up again… and left it run through 4 cycles. When two kids got in line, he stopped, it, loaded them, and then ran it through the final cycle of the day. Best way I can think of to end a day at Knoebels.

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Granted, I did skip the Skooters… but I was on my own this day (my wife decided to stay home), and the Skooters just aren’t fun if you don’t have someone you know to crash into. All in all, a great day at Knoebels. With the light crowds and the insanely fast dispatch times on the coasters I managed to grab 43 different rides (not counting the Haunted Mansion or the Sky way) for FREE with my pass from last year… that’s a $64 value!

Anyway… if I don’t make it back to Knoebels this summer, I’ll make a point, as always, to get there in late September to close out the season as well as get another “all day pass” deal for next year. *** Edited 5/24/2005 3:26:58 PM UTC by SLFAKE***

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Tuesday, May 24, 2005 1:55 PM
Well, you certainly got your money's worth, well you would have if you had paid for the pass.

I definitely agree with you about the loading efficiency on both coasters there. Quite a few parks can take a lesson there. Of course, the first thing is that the ops RUN the length of the train checking the lap bars, no leisurely strolling. It's obvious they take pride in the speed at which they dispatch the trains. I think they'd actually be mortified if there were ever a train stacked in the brake run. Second, you don't seem to have the hassle of riders putting half their worldly possessions in storage. Just sit in the car, toss it on the platform, it'll be there when you get back... dispatch.

Welcome to the "I Rode Fandango Without a Seatbelt Club." I doubt we'll see that message on a T-shirt up there though.

I was hoping to make it to Knoebels on Sunday, but I just had too much work that I had blown off going to Dorney on Saturday... of course, if it hadn't rained on Friday, I could have gotten the outside work done then. Oh well, that's water under the covered bridge. Great report!

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Tuesday, May 24, 2005 2:18 PM
Hey, what are you talking about this cop click or ticket thing. whats that?

Also can you buy a ride all day at the park any day or is it some special thing? How much is it?
Thanks

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Tuesday, May 24, 2005 2:31 PM
Click it or Ticket: PA state police handing out little reminder flyers of the PA seat belt law.

All Day Passes: I believe any weekday you can by all day passes. On select weekends in May and September you can also buy an all day pass. The rest of the season, weekends are tickets only, pay as you ride.

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Tuesday, May 24, 2005 2:36 PM
PA has a mandatory seat belt law for front seat occupants, BamBam. They are reminding people that if they stop you for some other violation, and you aren't wearing your belts, you'll get an additional ticket for that. Two offenses, two tickets.
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Tuesday, May 24, 2005 9:01 PM
I have to agree that the dispatch times Knoebels gets on their wooden coasters are pretty impressive. I can't help but wonder how much of that is due to the fact the trains don't have seat belts. Kinda ironic what with the Click it or Ticket checkpoint at the park entrance, eh?

Sunday was my first trip to the park, and I was kinda overwhelmed by both coasters. I found both of them to be truly wonderful and would have a difficult time choosing between them. Phoenix has more airtime than any one coaster (especially one this small) should. Twister has some decent airtime, and it has those wonderful high-G turns and that insane helix and IMO a somewhat more interesting layout aesthetically speaking.

Times like this, I'm glad I don't bother ranking coasters, beyond deciding whether they're worth reriding or worth going out of my way for or not worth bothering with.

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Tuesday, May 24, 2005 10:37 PM
After going to Knoebels on Sunday, I was actually getting ancy at Hershey the same day. I was on Wildcat first, and there were only two people checking bars and belts, and one them was an old-timer. I had gotten so used to the speed at Knoebels, that I was actually feeling a little bit irritated at HP. Well, part of that could be because I squeezed an entire day of rides into two hours:)
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Tuesday, May 24, 2005 11:16 PM

SLFAKE said: Granted, I did skip the Skooters… but I was on my own this day (my wife decided to stay home), and the Skooters just aren’t fun if you don’t have someone you know to crash into.

What are you talking about?

I was at Knoebels on Sunday from 5 till 7 and only rode the Scooters! I was by myself too! To me thats one of the the best ride to ride solo on and the Flyers of course. I did wander around the park a bit to get a slice of Taco Pizza from Cesaris and Sweet Potato Fries from the food court.

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Wednesday, May 25, 2005 1:55 PM
Intamin, obviously you weren't on Comet then. The wait for that absolutely drives me crazy sometimes. Divided seat, seat belt, and lap bar. Plus the end of the belt you buckle into is really low, barely above the seat. So most people either sit on the belt, or have a devil of a time buckling it because the end is either aside of your outer thigh if not under your butt.

So till all that's done and everyone is properly strapped in, the previous train is around and back and usually sitting in the brake run for a good 2-3 minutes. Then comes the final return to the station in fits and starts with the hand brake.

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Wednesday, May 25, 2005 4:34 PM
Knoebels is a great park..nice coasters, light crowds, good food, and I live close by.

Great TR. Sounds like you had an awesome day.

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