Unusual visit to Knoebels (6/4/2006)

Associated parks:
None

Monday, June 5, 2006 4:54 PM
After this visit, I believe that I was in some sort of bizarre-o alternate universe… however I will let the reader decide.

We arrived at the park around 2pm and headed directly to Twister. Only one train was running, but that was all that was needed since it was a walk on (or a 1 or two train wait for front or back seats). With the damp weather (it had rained earlier) the greased tracks were really running fast and the coaster roared through its paces. Age and maintenance have treated this coaster well as the only roughness comes from the design, not the tracking. One front seat and one back seat ride on here.

Next we were off to Phoenix. As with Twister, the wet rails I swear made this thing go faster. Also, as with Twister, age and maintenance have been kind to this masterpiece. The only roughness comes from landing back in your seat after the pops of air on the hills. Ridding over this, especially the wild finish over the bunny hops, and I could not help to wonder what Hersheypark’s Comet, another Schmeck design form the same era, would be like if it were not breaked so heavily on the second turn. Three rides on this… Seat 1, seat 2 and seat 4. For me, Phoenix is a front seat coaster. Seat 4 was selected for my third ride because the line for this was kind of long… bottom of the ramp and beyond the ticket taker position. As with Twister, only one train running, and that slowed things down a bit.

Lunch was at the eating area near Phoenix… I forget its name… and was a Prime Rib sandwich and a frozen lemonade. Gotta to admit, the price for the sandwich’s were a bit high… but then again you get what you pay for… and these have to be the best park sandwiches I have ever tasted!

Hate to say it, but that was basically the day. We headed out right after the third ride on Phoenix.

I don’t know what it was, but there was something that really bugged me about the park yesterday. I swear, all the folks who have been peed off by the Six Flags smoking ban must have all decided to go to Knoebels yesterday. Every place we went, we were inundated with smoke from someone near by. Worst was under the roof of the eating area by Phoenix… had to move three times because of blowing smoke from some patrons who were sitting near us.

Not only that, but the crowd seemed a bit on the unruly side... never have I heard so much foul language being thrown around at a park... from everyone from 5 year old kids to 89 year old grand mothers.

The ride crews seemed odd to. They seemed to be more interested in carrying on with each other and socializing with each other, only taking time out from their conversations to check restraints and press the dispatch button. Worse than that… the crew on Phoenix was being a bit lax in watching the waiting guests… I noticed a few kids wandering across the yellow line and perilously close to the tracks, only to be pulled back by other riders. The crew, who was gathered around the control booth (with on kid standing in the tracks, his back toward where the train would be coming in and toward the crowd).

Also, I found out just how expensive things could get. Weekends are ticket only days… no POP wristbands. After 2 rides on Twister and 3 on Phoenix, and realizing that there was only one twenty cent ticket left out of our $10 books, we decided to simply pass on any more tickets and head for home.

So… this was a strange experience for me. On all my other visits I have given Knoebels a glowing review and I had a blast. Yesterday was different. Could have been the rude customers, could have been constantly walking through smoke, could have been the fact that the ticket prices were really starting to add up... but for what ever reason, after only about an hour and a half we were both ready to call it a day.

I realized the difference. This was the first time I visited in 7 years on a day when there were no POP wrist bands. If a person visits on a Ticket Only day, I can see where they would come away with the impression that this is like one big carnival that found a permanent home. I also found out that the price of tickets can add up really quickly if you ride a lot (though not as quickly as at many Pay as you Go parks).

It was also the first time in many years that we visited during the “season” when the park is open 7 days a week. Most of our visits come in the Spring or Fall when the park is only on weekend operations. Is it just me… or do they put the more senior crews on during weekends when it is only weekend operations (i.e. all the kids who work there over the summer have gone back to school?) I mean on my past few visits (all weekends in either fall or spring) I have noticed the same seasoned crew on Phoenix. None of them seemed to be present yesterday.

Oh well… a bad day at a park is not reason to write off the park. However, if anyway possible, my next visit will be on either a week day or on a weekend in fall or spring when there is the wrist band option…. then maybe I can repeat my 43 rides in one visit like I did in Spring 2005.

*** Edited 6/5/2006 8:58:34 PM UTC by SLFAKE***

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Monday, June 5, 2006 5:49 PM
I've never been on a day with POP wristbands. I wish they offered these more, even if they made the price a little higher on weekends or something. Also, it bugs me when they have a line and they STILL only run 1 train.
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Monday, June 5, 2006 6:42 PM
I have to admit I have noticed the same attitude from the employees at the park. It seems that it is a generational thing, being as the younger kids are not brought up with the same level of respect or work ethic.

I know I am sounding like my parents, but I have noticed this everywhere, malls, resturaunts, and theme parks. The kids working there act as though they are doing you a favor by gracing you with their presence, and that they only are there to socialize with friends.

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Monday, June 5, 2006 7:20 PM
That's a little harsh to generalize a lower work ethic as a problem of the "younger generation". Granted, I understand that there are plenty of people out there that just don't care but they aren't just the younger people. As a member of the "younger generation" I have been in leadership/supervisory positions in both an amusement park (rides) and retail and know what it's like to work hard and be respectful. I don't appreciate lazy people either but just because the majority of the people that work as malls, restaurants, and theme parks are younger people, doesn't mean that they are all disrespectful and lack work ethic. I don't know about your particular situation at Knoebels because I've never been there but I can tell you that your observations cannot be generalized to all younger people because that is a false stereotype.
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Monday, June 5, 2006 8:16 PM
SLFAKE - Though interesting, I'm sorry to hear about your report. Perhaps it was a fluke. I usually don't mind single train operations when there isn't a line, but once it starts building, bring out the rest of the line.

Reminds me when I was a wee lad and I worked on a fishing boat. (Party boat rod and reel fishing in Brooklyn) Some days, the people would be very cool and decent, which made for a great day. Other times you would get a boatload of drunks, who couldn't fish, who tangled up everyone's lines and who messed the day up for the rest of the passengers.

I am a non-smoker and I hate smoking in most public places. (Though I agree that there should be designated smoking sections for those who enjoy it.)

When I'm at the mall, or local place and the personnel are younger people - I ALWAYS make it a habit to single them out to the manager when they are professional and kind. I would say somthing like, "If I were running a business, this young man\woman would be one of the first people I'd hire. In school I often tell the children to say "please" and "thank you" to the lunchroom staff and cutodians. Most of the time, they don't. I'm usually an easy-to-please customer - but I do take notice when a younger employee does a polite and thorough job.

At parks, other than sit down restaurants, I have to admit that I don't tip. I do mention positive things to the people at guest relations as well as negative ones via letters.

As to the language made by guests. I treat parks as places with a family atmosphere. There is no need for swear words. The langauge from the teens and kids at Great Adventure was terrible the last year. I may be old-fashoned, but in my opinion, little kids shouldn't curse and adults shouldn't curse in front of children. (There was a lot of cussin' on the fishing boat).

I hope to read about different expereinces the next time someone posts a TR from Knobles. Last year we went for the first time and we all had a great time - partly because of the family atmosphere.

OK, The sermon is over.

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Monday, June 5, 2006 8:34 PM
I have only been there once or-so, but I had to pay one price twice, since there were (two of us)
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Monday, June 5, 2006 9:31 PM
Sorry your trip wasn't the best, SLFAKE. I'm sure your next visit will be better.

I've been at Knoebels twice so far this year, and I haven't had noticed anything different about the ride crews. Of course, most of the ones I saw were the "usuals" but there were some new faces there too. I think sometimes the new people might be a bit timid about correcting the riders, but that will change as the season goes on. There did seem to be a mix of older and younger employees throughout the park, maybe because it was a holiday weekend.

Maybe you just hit it on a bad day, SLFAKE. Last Sunday (Memorial Day weekend) the park was really crowded, but the crowd was well behaved and mostly smoke free. We were there from around 3 until close at 10. By 8:00 or so, both coasters were running with alternate empty trains just to ensure full trains.

You said yourself what the "problem" with the tickets is--- you had 5 coaster rides in an hour and a half, which cost you $9.80. Now, at how many other parks will you get on 5 rides and have lunch in an hour and a half?

As an example, I've been at Hershey several times and maybe got on 8-10 rides in 8 hours. At this year's rates, that would cost me $32.95, with discounted tickets from Giant. Last year, I was @ PKD and for 42 dollars (including parking) I got on all of 4 rides in 5 hours, one of them being the Eiffel Tower.

I suppose Knoebels could take a page from many other parks and let trains sit in the brake run for 3 minutes while riders on the other train check their "luggage," slowly meander over to the train, fiddle with 3 separate restraints, etc. That should keep people from spending tickets too quickly. :)

Food tip for a Sunday: Hit the Oasis (the cafeteria with the torches out in front). Sunday special is 1/2 a bbq chicken with stuffing and two other sides for $7.50. Sodas are $2.00, but you get free refills.

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Monday, June 5, 2006 10:52 PM
I was there on 6/1 and payed $17 for a ride allday stamp. The park wasn't that crowded at all it was a greatday best bumpercars I ever rode and Pheonix was great as usuall still my #2 woodie can't wait to go back.
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Monday, June 5, 2006 11:23 PM
I generally avoid Knoebels on weekends, Saturday's especially. Sundays aren't bad after 6 because everyone leaves early to get home for work Monday.

Weekday bargin nights are my favorite time to go. The crowds are a little bigger then non bargin nights but nothing compared to Saturdays. Since the bargin night doesn't include Phoenix and Twister the lines for them are super short. For $20 you can get the Sundown plan from 5 to 10 and get all ther rides you want on them.

I remember when the Phoenix was a buck, The Flyers were $.60 the bumper cars were $.60 for driver and $.40 for the passenger. Still you can't beat a ride on Phoenix or Twister for $1.80 and $2.20 compared to $5 rides at Astroland and Indania Beach.

I think the best deal has to be Kennywood for their night rider special for $14.95. Still Knoebels isn't too shabby either.

I didn't notice the employees yet this year. I do know a few have moved on and schools are just finishing up now so between proms and graduations it should be getting back to normal soon.

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Tuesday, June 6, 2006 6:05 AM
Knoebels is one of the few parks that keeps their pay-per-ride prices relatively low. Most parks offering pay-per-ride have much higher prices, often to encourage visitors to buy a POP wristband. IB is a good example of this as are Waldameer, Astroland, and Moreys. One other example of a park with low pay-per-ride is DelGrosso's. $2 for the spinning mouse, $1 for the flats, and $.50 for kiddie rides, train, and the carousel. This park offers inexpensive POP as well, $10.95 or $13.95 with the water attractions.

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Tuesday, June 6, 2006 9:23 AM

You said yourself what the "problem" with the tickets is--- you had 5 coaster rides in an hour and a half, which cost you $9.80. Now, at how many other parks will you get on 5 rides and have lunch in an hour and a half?


Not many. The thing is... that was for just and hour and a half visit. What I meant was that compared to the POP wrist band options, the tickets only option can get kind of expensive. My last visit before this one was in May of 2005 on a spring weekend when they were offereing the POP bands. I had a total of 41 rides on various things (not counting Haunted House and the Skyride wich are not included in any band). If I would have done that this year, I could have done it for $33 with a POP wrist band... OR $60+ in tickets. Granted, the tickets are STILL cheaper than most places. In a second trip to Moreys a few years ago, I decided to use tickets since I wasn't sure how long I was going to be there. After only getting on a few rides and figureing out that It would have been cheaper to buy a POP option, I THEN bought a POP option knowing that I would still be ahead of the game. Hersheypark's Springtime in the Park and Hersheypark in the Dark (when they still offered the pay per ride options) were another good example of this. Ride every non kiddie ride there once and it would have cost you $70+... or around $20 for a wristband.

As far as the 5 rides and lunch in an hour and a half. Not unusuall for Knoebels... just gotta know when to be there. Granted, weekends in the summer are not the best. As for its nearest neighbor, Hersheypark, same goes... being relatively local I try and make sure I get there during non peak times. When we go on vacation in three weeks and visit various parks, I will have to do the best that I can do in that span of one week (and about the best I will be able to do is not hit any big "corporate" parks on weekends).

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Tuesday, June 6, 2006 2:13 PM
I know what you mean, SLFAKE. Over a long day, you'll spend a lot of money on tickets, but only because you'll be getting in tons of rides. At the Hershey "holiday" events, you'd pay 70 cents or so a ticket, but most rides would be 4-6 tickets.

Other than PPP, I have only ever bought a wristband once at Knoebels. I've usually been with my niece and nephew or my friends and their kids. That means spending lots of time watching Frog Hopper or the Spanish Bambini (aka ride constructed from leftover parts of other rides), so a wristband isn't the most economical way to go.

DelGrosso's is a great deal. $10.95 for a wristband/ $13.95 with the waterpark. And 3 dollars off with the coupon on a jar of their sauce-- if they sell it in a supermarket near you. And it's less expensive and better tasting than the famous brands too. I just bought 3 jars of sauce for $3.00 and got $9.00 in coupons. Can't beat that deal.

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Tuesday, June 6, 2006 2:21 PM

That means spending lots of time watching Frog Hopper or the Spanish Bambini (aka ride constructed from leftover parts of other rides), so a wristband isn't the most economical way to go.

And there in lies the beauty of offering both POP and ticket options. For those who like to ride their arses off (like those 41 rides in one day), then the tickets get quite expensive. For those who are not riders or who are there with little kids and will spend most of the time watching them, then wrist bands can be a bit of a waste.

That is why Knoebels is great on the days where they offer both... and that is also where I think Hersheypark is shooting themselves in the foot with their new "POP Only" entrance to their "Holiday" events (Though judging by the crowd that was there for Springtime in the Park, perhaps this strategy is not that bad for them after all). *** Edited 6/6/2006 6:45:40 PM UTC by SLFAKE***

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Tuesday, June 6, 2006 3:48 PM
Parks will only put on two trains if they can fill every seat and sustain a line while running two trains. I work on the Tbolt at Kennywood and the policy is that 3 queue rows must be filled in order to add a 2nd train. Otherwise the line would empty out really fast and we'd have trains being sent out with empty seats.
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Tuesday, June 6, 2006 4:12 PM
Kennywood might do that...

but...

SFA: During a mid may visit, Roar, Wild One and Mind Eraser all running two trains with no lines and sending out cars with empty seats.

Hersheypark: Often run two trains on sooperdooperlooper with no lines and sending out cars with empty seats.

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Tuesday, June 6, 2006 4:34 PM
Not sure how this plays into the equation, but both SFA and HP sell season passes....

Wait, that's *sdrawkcab*...

....same thing I saw at SFStL though...I think the new SF policy of maximizing throughput is IDEAL for busy summer days, but maybe a bit overkill for slow days when the lines are non-existent. For the *new* ride, capacity needs to be at maximum (yet, with a 2nd gen Intamin tower, I thought 4 of 6 sides operating *was* the max., hehe).

BUSY rides, rides with normally low capacity (flumes, interactive dark rides, etc.), keep the capacity there...old Vekoma multi-inversion headbanger with a walk-on to front or back, not so much... MY take, anyhow...

Ride tickets at a park without an *admission price*" make for an easy "stop on the way home from work" kinda place...now, how to get a job that pays anywhere NEAR Elysburg...is GCII hiring yet? ;)

*** Edited 6/6/2006 8:37:53 PM UTC by rollergator***

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Tuesday, June 6, 2006 5:38 PM
gator, submit a resume and we'll see what we can come up with.

Something you'll see a lot of at Knoebels is people leaving the park giving unused tickets to other folks. That's a pretty nice gesture, considering they can use the tickets anytime. I guess they don't have a "special" wallet in their dresser drawer to keep unused ride tickets from season to season. (And please, no lectures about depreciation.)

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Tuesday, June 6, 2006 7:27 PM
well thats why were kennywood and theyre...well...everyone else..
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