Post-Birthday Jaunt To Knoebels (9/14)

Sunday, September 15, 2013 3:02 PM

I always like to vist a park and ride some coasters on the weekend preceding or following my birthday when it falls on a weekday. This year I did both.

Thanks to my friend Jen, I was able to attend ACE's Riding Of The Bull event at GrAdv last Saturday. I had been debating with myself where to go for my POST-birthday jaunt. My main candidates were SFNE and Clementon. Early last week, I started also considering Knoebels, and it became a three-headed monster. I hadn't known that my friend Ken was headed to Knoebels on Saturday until mid-week. He and his kids are terrific people and fun to hang with, and I found out Knoebels was offering their P.O.P with wood coasters included, for $36 (normally 41.50.) And other than gas, it only costs me a $1 toll round trip. So I decided on Knoebels. I planned to meet Ken, his daughter Hayley, and son Hayden near Phoenix' entrance around 12-ish, give or take.

That was unnecessary, as I felt a tap on the shoulder immediately after purchasing my wristband. Turns out we arrived at pretty much the exact same time..matter of fact, he was parked about 4 spaces away from me!

After he bought their bands, we headed to Phoenix. At the ticket booth there we bought the extra $4 worth of tickets each of us needed for later rides on Haunted Mansion and Black Diamond (neither included on P.O.P.) Oddly, Haunted Mansion was already taking passengers and had a large line a full 30 minutes before the park "officially" opened at 12.

We had two nice rides on Phoenix to start the day...the back was the better of the two. It remains as always, a smooth ride, a fun ride, a classic..and the lack of seat belts certainly doesn't hurt. We had another ride after lunch when we discovered they had put the other train on, and the best of the day near the end of the night in the back seat. I tell you, that line can look long when it's onto the midway, but they blow those trains out and our longest wait was less than 15 minutes or so.

The rest of this will be anecdotal, as my now-49 year-old brain doesn't remember the order of things. :(

Twister remains my favorite coaster in the park. By the time we got over there they were running both trains. There's some extreme laterals on that ride, but to me, it's very similar to Lightning Racer in that it really gives the illusion of more speed than it's actually producing. Wasn't as rough as it can be..easily identifiable new wood likely has much to do with that.

We took one drop on StratosFear..low capacity, not very tall, slow climb. It doesn't really stop at the top and it's airtime city all the way down. Nice lighting package at night

No testing and very little activity around Flying Turns.

Hayley was a bit nervous about the Haunted Mansion..first time..but I think she enjoyed it more than she let on. The effects seemed to be timed better than in the past. I enjoy that ride a lot.

Knoebels' Skooters bumper cars get a lot of love, as they should. We only got one ride due to line length throughout the day. The only complaint I have about them is that there's too many cars in the circuit. Leads to more jams with less movement and slamming. Fewer cars would be more conducive to the desired...on my part anyway...mayhem.

We actually took two rides on the wonderful carousel. No one got the brass ring, but we enjoyed them. I'm conflicted about their carousel. I'm a firm believer that the only way to ride a carousel as an adult is on a horse that goes up and down. But at Knoebels, the attraction of grabbing for the ring is offset by the fact that all of the outside horses that allow you to grab are stationary.

Did a bunch of flats, including the Whip and Italian Trapeze (swings) with Hayden while Ken and Hayley rode Kozmo's Kurves. I believe they hadn't been on before. Neither had Hayden, but he was on 199 coasters and didn't want a kiddie coaster to be #200. He had a sign ready to display on his 200th. They were going to Dorney today, so either Stinger or Possessed will be more appealing to him.

Ken was kind enough to treat me to lunch. We were gonna eat at the food court by Black Diamond, but I just felt like a burger, and the only one on that menu was the Bison Burger. It was funny..Ken thought that was just a fun name for the generic burger, and didn't realize it's actually bison meat. We ate at at the food court by Phoenix, where I had a fairly decent bacon/cheddar burger.

I found some pinball machines..a rare occurence at parks...and played for a bit while the others went to the Roto-Jets. My skills at pinball have eroded along with my eyesight. But my Skee-Ball skills have not. I threw about 5 games, did well, and did what I always do with my redeemable prize tickets..gave them to a mom with kids who were obviously collecting tickets to win some junk.

After that, I met the others again. I wanted to ride the chairlift up the mountain, which is, for me, quite the scary experience. But that was outweighed by my desire for a coupla more woodie rides. We made it back to the chairlift ten minutes before the park's 8pm closing. But, because of the length of the ride (14 minutes)..they had already stopped taking passengers.

I enjoyed Black Diamond more than I did last year. There seemed to be more effects, all were working, and I was able to see them better from my vantage point.

There seemed to be an inordinate number of animals of the canine persuasion in the park yesterday. The park was crowded, but the lines were not long. That's the thing about Knoebels..it draws a lot of grandparent/parent/grandchildren-type families who fill the open areas, but are not doing much riding.

There's always an ongoing debate about buying P.O.P vs. individual tickets. I did the math. Based on the rides I went on I finished down by a quarter.

It was great to see Ken again. Third time this year, counting my abbreviated day at Hershey in June. Haley was with us at GAdv on Easter, but Hayden was not. His youngest, Hunter, did not make this trip, although all four of them joined me at Kennywood last year (also on my post-birthday weekend!)

So they're at Dorney as I type this, and I know they're having a blast. If I had a pass, I might have joined them. They expect to head east and to GrAdv NEXT Easter, so I certainly look forward to that.

Thanks for reading, folks.

Last edited by Mike Gallagher, Sunday, September 15, 2013 3:47 PM
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Sunday, September 15, 2013 7:37 PM

Aw, I'm jealous.

I'm embarrassed to say I don't know offhand who built the carousel at Knoebel's, but on most machines the outside row is comprised of standers. The old Ilions rides at Columbus Zoo and Geauga had jumpers on the outside, but that's rare. On some rides you'll see an outside row of horses that look like jumpers but have been modified to be stationary, probably for safety reasons. I've only been on two rides that have ring machines, and I love it. I've yet to catch a brass ring.

I also love Skee-Ball but I wouldn't have passed on the Roto Jets, it's one of my favorite rides there. It's such a relic and I hope it lasts forever. Haunted Mansion is one of my favorite dark rides out there. Of the old-school rides it's one of the best. I love taking a newbie thru there, the stunts are truly startling especially for a first timer.

I'm with you about the chair lift. It's not so bad going up but you're looking at the ground there. Once it turns around and you realize just how high you've gone it's scary. What a great view though.

It sounds like you guys had a great time. One of these days I'm gonna skip my fall trip to SDC and go to PPP again.

Oh, and happy birthday, bud. You're almost officially old now. :-p

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Sunday, September 15, 2013 8:15 PM

Mike Gallagher said:

Knoebels' Skooters bumper cars get a lot of love, as they should. We only got one ride due to line length throughout the day. The only complaint I have about them is that there's too many cars in the circuit. Leads to more jams with less movement and slamming. Fewer cars would be more conducive to the desired...on my part anyway...mayhem.

The only time I have a problem with too many cars is when there's a bunch of little kids who aren't driving well. (I've said it before, I'll say it again -- Knoebels needs to have an adults-only bumper car session for those who want to go wild.) If you have too few cars, then it's hard to hit anybody without overly abusing the one-way-only rule. (You can only spin in a corner for so long without looking stupid.)

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