SF Darien Lake & Knoebel's

Associated parks:

Six Flags Darien Lake




I spent the weekend visiting a friend near Rochester, NY, and we took some time out on Saturday to visit nearby Six Flags Darien Lake. I have a season pass, and he and his girlfriend picked up discounted tickets at a ‘local’ (local in upstate New York meaning 25 miles away) supermarket for about $21 each.

We arrived shortly after the park opened at 10:30, after spending an hour crossing through cornfields. There was a huge crowd at the gate, but it was only because they had about 3 entry lanes open. Ugh. Once we finally entered (No problem with my season pass or costumes here, either), we headed straight for Superman: Ride of Steel. I wanted to get it out of the way, as I suspected that we’d run into long lines all day.

Superman: Ride of Steel – With this, I’ve ridden all traditional Intamin hypers in North America (Xcelerator and Wicked Twister and that sort being excluded). In the morning, it was running very, very slowly. Not quite as slow as Six Flags America’s clone in 35 degree weather, but close. As we waited in line, though, it heated up, and it got considerably faster. Over the course of the few hours we stayed at the park, I managed two rides in the back seat. The first, in the morning, was lackluster. The airtime wasn’t amazing, it was gentle, and the long, straight, boring sections were, erm, long, straight and boring. The helixes were nice, though. The train shimmied a lot, and the whole ride was considerably rougher than any other Intamin coaster I’ve ridden. In the afternoon, the ride was faster still, and the ride was better. Still not approaching top ten material for me, but it was redeeming.

6 of 10, because there’s too much straight track, it rode rougher than any Intamin should, and the second hill is a tiny bit too tall.

Predator – Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. Who ever let Summers and Dinn make wooden coasters, anyway? I mean, besides Georgia Cyclone, that is. Predator’s second train is in several pieces. So, suffice it to say, there was one train operation. I rode this for the count and was done with it. It has a very interesting layout, really. The turnarounds on each end are really pretty, and there exists potential, I think. Replace the trains, lower the profile of the second and third hills, and show it love.

3 of 10, because, well, it shook a lot, delivered no airtime at all, and made me sad.

Viper – This is, possibly, the best the Arrow looper I’ve ever seen. It’s got some dull moments, but it’s smooth as a baby’s bottom, offers airtime, and has a great helix. It’s not on a parking lot, either! I really enjoyed everything about this coaster except for the trains. They seemed small, but that could just be me having a bad memory. I wish it weren’t in a corner of the park, too, because I would’ve ridden it more. The helix caught me by surprise.

7.5 of 10 – Arrow did good work here. My favorite Arrow looper this side of Drachen Fire, and a great first drop. Straight drops are way funner (I know, I know) than curving drops, methinks.

Mind Eraser – I guess this was smooth. It wasn’t terrible, and I do remember the ride. So, while smooth, maybe it didn’t live up to it’s name? An SLC. I’m always amazed by two things with these coasters. First, they’re bigger than they look in photos. Second, if they tracked better, they could be fantastic rides. The layout is fun. We sat in the second car. There was also noticeable lag in the train as the back cars weighed things down. This ruined the feeling of speed this ride needs.

5 of 10, as they don’t get more exciting with time.

Batman Thrill Spectacular – I figured out later that this building used to house Nightmare at Phantom Cave. It was nice to see one of the generic Batman shows take place indoors, though. I’m not a fan of loud explosions, fire, or violence. The bad acting was priceless, though. 3 of 10, because, well, yeah.

Boomerang – I don’t know what a lilly liver is, but there’s an advisement against such folks riding this ride. It’s a late generation Boomerang, relatively speaking, as it has Vekoma’s new trains and spiral evacuation stairs. It was smooth, fun, and fast. No brakes, either. 5 of 10, because it’s the very definition of roller coaster mediocrity. It’s quasi-roller coaster. The Diet Coke of Roller Coasters. Not roller coaster enough.

You get the idea.

Mapquest time from Geneseo, NY to Knoebel’s Amusement Resort was 4 hours and 20 minutes. My actual travel time was just under 3 hours. That’s a personal best as far as beating Mapquest times goes.. The only downside was traveling on US-15 for something like 80 miles. That has to be the stupidest road in America. It’s a future Interstate 99, but it’s got traffic lights, one lane traffic in each direction, and some scary downgrade sections.

Phoenix – Ah, yes. My baby. I parked at Knoebel’s shortly before 1 p.m., walked through the park (forgetting just how big it is, and how far away Phoenix is) and ponied up $8 for 5 rides.

I sat in 1.3 for each ride. I’ve raved before, and I’ll rave again. Phoenix is, to my limited knowledge, the world’s only wooden stand-up coaster It’s amazing. It’s fun. The seat is just a safety feature.

I ate lunch, drank a milkshake, and headed home.

~~~ Maddy ~~~

*** This post was edited by Chernabog on 8/13/2002. ***

Nice TR, SFDL is my home park so I know all too well about Predator's roughness. There was a time a couple years ago where I could marathon that ride because it wasn't very rough. Now, I can only stomach one ride per visit on any part of the train except for the front. It's a little better there. It did receive some work in the offseason but that obviously hasn't done the ride anygood.

SFDL and their entrance: Be lucky there were 3 gates open. When my wife and I visited on a Wednesday in mid June there were NO gates open to buy tickets... just the entrance gates open for those who had pre-bought tickets. We and several hundred other people waited by the ticket windows for around 15 minutes. Finally I walked over to the group sales window. While they were selling tickets there, since I did not represent a group, I could not buy tickets there and they didn't know anything about the regular windows not being open. When I returned to my wife in line, she decided to walk over to the Guest Relations window. They informed us that the regular windows would not be open for quite some time (with all the buses and groups they pulled all of their ticket sellers to man then entrances) but that they were selling tickets at this window today. Darned shame they didn't think to put a sign at the regular ticket windows for the by now nearly 200 people lined up. My wife motioned me over and I, along with a group of people we had been talking to in front of the line (we were second in line) went over to GR and bought the tickets. We thought this would be the start of a bad day... wait, a typical Six Flags day... but we were wrong. This was the low point of an otherwise good day.

S:RoS running faster in the afternoon: When those tracks heat up this thing screams! We thought we were on a different coaster at the end of the day than we rode at the beginning.

Knoebels: No ride on Twister? I found the best time to ride these two coasters is in the rain. Fast and fun rides turn absolutely insane in the rain, and the crowds disappear too!

Kind of hard to take a post as objective if a park or coaster name is part of the "user name"

Something definitely needs to be done about opening up the entrance there, then. Now that I think about it, we had to wait in line to get out of the park, too. There's something wrong with that.

S:ROS was noticeably speeding up as we waited in the queue. I'm glad we didn't get there first thing in the morning. I would've stayed until evening to ride again, except there wasn't enough else to hold my attention. To ride this particular version of a S:ROS, I think I'd rather make the slightly shorter drive to Six Flags America. There, at least, there's also Joker's Jinx, Batwing, and Roar.

At Knoebel's, I stopped in only with the intention of riding Phoenix and eating lunch. Had I strayed from that intention, I would've had to ride the Flyers and the Bumper Cars and Twister and the Haunted House and the Whirlwind. That would've been a lot more time, a lot more money, and, probably more fun, too. But, I hate driving at night, so I had to get in and out as quickly as possible.

Plus, last time I was there, Twister didn't excite me much. If I ever learn about PPP before it happens, I'll make an effort to be there. Learning about its existence after it takes place never does anyone any good.


Chernabog - PPP is on October 5th this year.

"When will you stop all your buzzing?" - The Flaming Lips "Oh My Pregnant Head"

I had the same opinion of the rides there as you, it was like reading my own TR. ;). We got there around noon so getting in wasn't bad. In fact when we got there they added all the trains to everything.

Chernabog said:
"The only downside was traveling on US-15 for something like 80 miles. That has to be the stupidest road in America. It’s a future Interstate 99, but it’s got traffic lights, one lane traffic in each direction, and some scary downgrade sections."

I drove that on the way back to DC from Rochester. I was PISSED OFF the entire drive. Some of the turns and windings that road makes are the most insane that I have encountered. I am *so* happy that the interstates were built like somebody actually had a destination in mind and not just senseless meandering.

The jacked up part about it is if I ever want to go to Knoebel's from here, that seems like the most direct route :(

"To get inside this head of mine, would take a monkey-wrench, and a lot of wine" Res How I Do

kpjb's avatar

I was under the impression that no matter where you're coming from, there is never a direct route to Knoebel's.

BTW, I just LOVE that there's actually a 2 lane, windy road named... the "Knoebel's Parkway"... classic!

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*** This post was edited by kpjb on 8/13/2002. ***

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