Sunday was a day we set aside to spend some time with my family and do laundry one last time--we still had seven more days of traveling ahead of us.
Monday morning we got on the road early in the hopes of making it to Knoebels between 1:00 and 2:00. Construction and traffic weren’t cooperating and it took us a lot longer to get there than we had expected, barely in time to meet some friends at 2:00. As it turns out they were running late too, and we caught up with them later outside the Phoenix. It was cloudy and rainy throughout most of our trip, but there was no rain when we got to the park, it was very gray though. Without thinking we purchased a POP wristband with the wood coasters option, and then realized given our late arrival, and the chance for rain, it probably would have made more sense to just buy tickets. Oh well, I don’t mind giving Knoebels our money.
The last time I was at Knoebels was during the Ultimate Preservation Conference in 1999 when they were still working on Twister while it was running during ERT. Phoenix is my number one coaster and I was looking forward to getting on it again. To my amazement they still aren’t using the seatbelts (I believe they are tucked under the cushions), and although it was only a one-train operation, the highly efficient crew was dispatching the train with amazing speed. We timed one train and from final stop to dispatch and the total time elapsed was nineteen seconds. NINETEEN SECONDS, not even Cedar Point can do that. Phoenix was everything I remembered and love about that ride. We rode several times front and back, with the front of the train being my favorite.
When I rode Twister back in 1999 I wasn’t overly impressed. I was curious to see how it would ride after breaking in a couple of years. It too was running one train but the crew was not as fast as they were at Phoenix. Of course they did have twice as many lap bars to check on Twister (but no seatbelts). The split chain lift, although unique, does add more time to each train cycle, so the wait was longer here than at Phoenix. I find this coaster to be rather dull. The drops are engineered in such a way as to not produce any airtime. There is a hint of air at the tops of the uphill portion if you are in the very front car. Other than that, this coaster just doesn’t do much for me (or Tim). It never seems to get very fast, and the helix doesn’t feel very powerful. We rode a couple of times, but were pretty much underwhelmed.
The chairlift ride was not where I expected it to be. It was a relaxing and scenic ride. I don’t think I would have made this an upcharge attraction. Having been a skier for most of my life (prior to moving to Texas), I’ve ridden a good number of chairlifts but I never rode one where the support poles were not vertical. Several of the poles on this lift were installed at an angle, which seemed very odd to me.
We took a spin on the Whirlwind, which is surprisingly smooth for a Vekoma. I love how close the train comes to the trees. It is in serious need of a paint job.
We also rode the Flying Scooters, Bumper Cars, High Speed Thrill Coaster, the train and the carousel, all of which were wonderful. Because we were short on time we skipped the Haunted House. I’ve been on it dozens of times, and I know it hasn’t changed at all. Our primary objective was to get as many rides on the Phoenix as possible.
We shopped for souvenirs. I was in need of a new Phoenix shirt, and we ended up getting a coffee mug, shot glass, postcards, magnets and a Christmas ornament. We ended up shopping in three different stores and we wound up spending quite a sum. Knoebel’s is easily one of the best merchandised parks around.
We thoroughly enjoyed our time at Knoebels although it seemed all too brief. We couldn’t stay until closing as we were driving to York that evening to stay with my sister and her family and we didn’t want to arrive too late.
Shortly after leaving the park it started to rain, and we encountered some torrential downpours on our way. We finally got to their house around 11:00 p.m.
Next stop Carowinds.
*** Edited 7/16/2004 9:20:40 PM UTC by Jeffrey Seifert***
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