Planning Knoebel's/Hersheypark trip in October

I'm planning a short PA trip for October with a friend who hasn't been to Knoebel's or Hersheypark.

I've been to Knoebels twice (1997 and 2011) and Hersheypark 3 times (1996, 2006 and 2011). Loved both parks, and really psyched about this trip.

I've asked around about Phoenix Phall Phunfest, but haven't gotten a concrete answer to my main concern: would it be better to go during regular operation or during PPP for a person who has never been there? PPP - what rides are open? How long are the lines?

I went to Knoebel's last August and had a great time. Twister and Phoenix had one train on early with 20 minute waits, maximum. They soon added 2nd trains making the lines 5 minutes or less(!!!) for the rest of the day. That was ideal operations - is it always like that?

We did Hersheypark after Knoebel's. We went the night before for the "preview" the park offers. As always, the park and coasters were great, but the park was PACKED that night and the entire next day. So this took away a bit from the fun. Long lines for food, coasters, everything. I would much rather wait than go back on a day that crowded, as much as a I love Hersheypark.

rollergator's avatar

First and foremost, check HP's operating calendar. They're known for buyouts in October, so plan around a date when HP is open.

PPP - everything is open, save for Skloosh and the flume....and sadly, the ice cream waffles, LOL. Phoenix always has a long line, but it moves QUICKLY due to the best operations on Earth. The truly long line is for the (haunted) Antique Cars....typically about an hour.

I'll let others who visit more frequently speak to what's "normal" since I've only made a few in-season visits....

What would you consider a "long ling" for Phoenix?

I've hear many people say that PPP has become so crowded over the year, so it's not a good time to go. Then I've heard the exact opposite.

I wonder if it's how Coaster Mania at Cedar Point started getting very crowded. I think when Mantis and Millennium opened, it was more crowded than during regular operating hours. Other than seeing old friends (in line!) there was no reason to get up early for that. Same thing I hear - many won't go go (including me) to Coaster Mania, but at the same time, diehards swear by it.

ApolloAndy's avatar

I haven't been to PPP in about 5 years, but it used to be about 20 minutes for middle (including 1-3) on Phoenix, 30 for premium (front, back). The line moves very quickly, though. If you really want to just ride, you can also buy the POP wristband during the afternoon and get a bunch of rides in before all the other enthusiasts show up.

I can't emphasize enough how much fun PPP is and not just for the riding. Even if you don't know many enthusiasts, you can definitely meet some friendly people and the atmosphere cannot be beat. A cool fall evening with hundreds of other people who LOVE coasters: world champion flyer snapping, knee cap destroying bumper cars, brass ring caroseling, hand slapping on the Phoenix's really an unforgettable experience. And if you happen to know or find some people you can get along with and can introduce you around, it pretty quickly becomes a family reunion.

Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

^Thanks Andy, that does sound like a good time! So the park isn't so busy during the day? I ran across this phlyer

It seems that registration is in the AM, and then there are specific ride times for ERT. I'm a little confused... do some pholks only show up for the night ERT sessions?

It is a little confusing. You can register at 1130, but phunfest activities don't start til 5.
We usually do the phunfest combo for saturday, so we can do rides during the day before it gets really busy with enthusiasts. I haven't been in a few years, but I was one who was unhappy with how popular PPP had gotten, so I appreciate being able to ride during the day, too. The evening is fun, I always love the costume parade. The covered bridge festival is nice, lots of crafty type items at reasonable prices and the food is good, too.
I say do it.

birdhombre's avatar

We usually arrive around 4:30 p.m. Saturday, so registration at least goes that late (actually it's not so much 'registering' as simply getting a hand stamp and some event tickets). Last year we did PPP + Sunday POP, which I would like to do again. Phunfest is phun, but that one evening isn't nearly enough to enjoy the whole park.

I always thought the Phoenix line moved fairly quickly during the event. One good thing is that a lot of folks enjoy other rows, so unlike Voyage during HWN, the wait for the front usually isn't too bad. On Sunday however, they were only running one train, so the front had a longer wait than the previous night, despite there being fewer people.

Typically our plan of attack goes like, arrive 4:30, start gabbing with friends, realize it's past 5:00 and we should beat the rush for pizza, gobble up said pizza and get in line for the haunted mansion. By then the coasters are open, and after a few spins there, tackle the bumper cars, carousel rings, and flyers. After that, a cup of hot chocolate (depending on the weather) and moar Phoenix.

I happen to love autumn anyway, and the Knoebels setting just makes it all the more enjoyable. :)

Thanks guys. So, the park is open to the public, but you have to pay a little for the PPP upgrade? Then you get ERT?

I've read that the ERT is for PPP pholks, but they sometimes let everyone on. More confusion.

Sounds like, either way, it's a great time. Me and my buddy were planning (well, I am trying to convince him) on 2 days at Knoebel's and one day at Hersheypark (since the parks are only open Friday, Saturday and Sunday) is the way to go. As much as I love Hersheypark, I think the 2 consecutive days should go to Knoebel's. Just so much to do! I wanted to do 2 days at each, but that isn't happening in October.

birdhombre's avatar

Yeah, the park is just open to the public as usual, and the attendant still checks for handstamps or tickets. That's the way I remember it, anyway. I think the only rides open are the ones listed on the flyer you linked to, though. That's another reason to stick around for "hangover day."

Unless I'm missing something, it looks like Hersheypark is only open the last 3 weekends of October, which is a shame because I'd really like to make that part of a PPP excursion one of these years. Still have never been there.

So, are you thinking Friday night at Hershey then Saturday and Sunday at Knoebel's?
While I would normally suggest max time at Knoebel's, we find if we do the combo, (whole Saturday POP with PPP to conclude the evening), it's usually enough. The park seems busy, but most daytime folks are there for the festival and the rides arent all that busy. Most if not all of them are open, and you could get the flats that aren't in on the PPP. Then you could get up nice and early Sunday and skedaddle on down to Hershey, for what would probably be a busier day, but a whole day at least.
I think a lot of enthusiasts use Saturday for travel and arrive in time for PPP, then take part of Sunday for more rides. We would arrive Friday night, which gave us all day Saturday, and like I said, it was good. Even though it's not included in the POP, be sure to take a spin or two thru the Haunted House during the day. I think the bright day into a dark ride thing makes it a little better than night time. While I haven't been there since it opened, I have a feeling Black Diamond might be a better grab during the day, too, as ERT will be nuts.
I hope you can talk your friend into all this, and whatever you do will be a blast. I'm jealous I can't go this time...

I was thinking Knoebel's on Friday + Saturday, then go to Hersheypark on Sunday. But now looking at their hours, that may not be best for maximum time at Knoebel's; and trying to coordinate that with PPP may not work as it looks like the rides are only open until 6pm that Friday, October 5th. It's a bit confusing looking at the sites.

I'm starting to think maybe this trip would be best as just a Knoebel's trip. Maybe wait until 2013 for Hersheypark; perhaps they will do a little more work on the Skyrush restraints by then, too. I've heard they are still rather uncomfortable.

This is probably a silly question, but do you need to belong to a coaster club to participate in PPP? The flyer isn't clear on that aspect.

You don't need to belong to a club to go to PPP.

You also don't need to buy a PPP handstamp to ride from 6-10PM, unless they change it -- they've been letting people ride with tickets. Yes, it makes the line a little longer, but they keep Phoenix moving even faster than normal at PPP. I don't know why they keep saying "ERT" on the brochure. If it was ever actually ERT, it hasn't been for the 6 years or so that I've been going.

Unless they've changed something this year, which I see nothing on the schedule to indicate, there are NO rides open on the Friday before PPP! The only thing that's ever been open is the craft show. The Saturday of PPP, the rides are open from noonish til 5 (except for the water rides), all the rides are closed between 5 and 6, then from 6-10 the rides listed in the PPP brochure are open on the schedule printed there. The Sunday after PPP, all the rides (except water rides) are open again from noonish til 5. After that, it goes to their Hallo-Fun Nights schedule for the remaining weekends of the month, which I don't think they've announced yet for this year. Only select rides (usually more or less the ones that were open at PPP) will be open then too. (Again, unless something has changed. I see they've expanded the schedule to begin at 2PM instead of 6PM, but I don't see a ride list yet.)

The PPP pricing is as indicated in the brochure. You can get a 12-5 handstamp, a PPP handstamp, or a discounted combination of the two (or PPP and 12-5 Sunday.) Or you can just use tickets for whatever.

Re: Hershey, the only weekends they're open in October are their Halloween-themed days, which are nothing special in terms of Halloween events. It's been a while since I've been there, but I don't remember them even having as many decorations as Knoebels has been having recently, and no haunts at all. The only reason to go is to take advantage of the dirt-cheap admission, although that's (in my limited experience) offset somewhat by long lines for all the good coasters.

When I attended PPP in 2006 Hersheypark was closed (They may had been a "Buyout") but Dorney, Dutch Wonderland and SFGA were open (The latter had record crowds when I visited it, it took me eight hours to get one ride each on Kingda Ka, El Toro, Superman and Nitro).

Answer my Prayers, Overbook my next Flight!

HP won't be open, at least to the public, the first weekend in October. So combining PPP and HP won't be possible. IIRC, Knoebels offers a POP on the afternoon of PPP, from 12-5-- which is the opposite of what they do the summer season, where it's tickets only on the weekends and POP available during weekdays. Also, one downer unless they changed since 2 years ago, is that they only run single trains on Phoenix and Twister during the afternoon. Again, that's how they usually do it during POPs.

As Jim mentioned, PPP has become less exclusive, as more people stick around for the evening, using tickets to get on rides. That's been offset by the fact that Knoebels has been opening more and more rides each year. The problem there is, with so much of the park open, you may never run into people you know are there.

Hallo-Fun is going to be Friday nights 6-10, Saturdays 2-10, Sundays 12-5, from October 12-28.

Just to clarify about PPP-- there is a different handstamp for the POP in the afternoon that they won't honor after 5 PM, so you'll need to buy a second handstamp for PPP or use tickets. Or else use tickets during the day, and buy just the handstamp for the evening. That's a hell of a lot of options!

The PPP handstamp includes coupons good for 2 slices of pizza and a drink, a ride on the Skyview (normally tickets only, and never included with a POP), and coupons for games. All can be redeemed Saturday evening or Sunday afternoon.

Last edited by RatherGoodBear,
Raven-Phile's avatar

I'm really excited about PPP this year, if I make it. I have a couple of other things I'm supposed to be doing that weekend, one of them being the Color Run, and the other being NYC. I'm torn.

Raven-Phile said:

I'm really excited about PPP this year, if I make it. I have a couple of other things I'm supposed to be doing that weekend, one of them being the Color Run, and the other being NYC. I'm torn.

I'm pretty sure NYC will be there the weekend before and after PPP. :)

ApolloAndy's avatar

But man, will you be kicking yourself if it's not.

Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

It looks like Hersheypark has limited hours this and next month. It's going to be tough to fit a visit there in with Knoebel's, unless we go later in October. Being the end of the coaster season, we may have to skip Hersheypark altogether. Bummer. I'm much more keen on spending more time at Knoebel's anyway.

Tekwardo's avatar

Biggest piece of advice I can give about PPP is don't think of it as:

A) A normal enthusiast event.

B) 'Real' ERT (Because it isn't anywhere near ERT)

It's still fun, and I'm sure you'll see people you know there Billy.

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