Knoebels TR 10/8/17
Every year since 2011 we have made an annual visit to Knoebels. We usually try to go on the most uncrowded days, and when wristbands are cheap. Usually our goal is to get 15-20 rides on Phoenix alone each visit. Because of this strategy, we have not visited during The Covered Bridge Festival. Friday evening, PPP, and Saturday were not an option for us, due to my kids work schedules. So Sunday was our only opportunity. With all day wristbands costing $27 because the rides were only operating from 11:00am to 5:00, I was hoping it would be less crowded.
My oldest son Zak has never been to Knoebels, so he decided to finally join us. My 17 year old son, Hayden, and my daughter, Haley, go every year with me. So the 4 of us left the house at 5:00am and headed towards my favorite park.
We arrived at the park at 9:30am, and to our surprise the parking lot was pretty empty. Being this was Zak's first ever visit, we had to develop a strategy to make sure he got the full Knoebels experience riding all the rare and classic rides, along with the 6 coasters. We bought our wristbands when they opened the ticket window at 10:15. We head over to Flying Turns and got in line. We spoke to the ride ops and asked if Zak and Hayden stood in line, if my daughter and I could go check out the vendors. He said as long as we were back before they opened the coaster at 11:00, our place in line would be held.
With only 45 minutes to play with, my daughter and I power walked through the hundreds of vendors, only stopping at the booths that interested us, which mainly were the art and photography booths. My daughter did buy a few things, but I unfortunately didn't. I was looking for amusement park related art or photography, and didn't find anything that I liked. Now, we did not get to see every single booth, but we I would say, we saw better than half of them. At 10:55 we rejoined the boys at Flying Turns for our first ride of the day.
Flying Turns is the only wooden bobsled Coaster in the world. There are 3 cars to a train, with 2 people max to a car and a 400 pound weight limit to each car. Which row you sit in depends on the weight of the people riding each car. They actually weigh you before you get on. The heaviest goes in the front car, and the lightest in the back car. Hayden and Haley sat in front, Zak in the middle, abd for the first time, I was finally thin enough to get the back seat. We got first train of the day and now that I have ridden all 3 rows, I would say the front seat is by far my seat. Zak really enjoyed Flying Turns, but his complaint is just like mine. It's a short ride. Flying Turns is very low capacity, so we have never got multiple rides in the same day, even on the slowest days. We line up first thing in the morning, ride once, and that's it till next visit.
After Flying Turns, of course we had to ride my all time favorite flat ride The Flyer. Many of you know my obsession with Flying Scooters, and Knoebels version is the best set. My first ride was good, but as soon as we started snapping the tubs, the ride op put us on slow speed for the rest of the ride. We did ride it 2 more times later on in the day, with a different ride op. That guy would slow us down also, but speed us back up. I had a few great scare the crap out of myself moments, but then they would slow us down. The good thing is is that they never did say anything to us. I have been asked very politely in the past, not to ride again, but not on this visit.
Next up, we had to get Zak on Looper right next door. Zak did visit Nickelodeon Universe with us back in 2012, and loved a ride called Brain Surge. Well Looper is the classic version of it. I tried to explain to Zak how to rock and operate the clutch, but he misunderstood, and actually did the opposite. My daughter rode with me, because she knew we were Knoebels veterans, and I have that rhythm down on Looper to give us a very dizzying ride.
Next we went over to Phoenix. We elected to walk on it, instead of waiting for the back seat. We rode second from back. In the morning Phoenix was running slow, with very little air time. I was bragging this coaster up so much to Zak, and it was running terrible, for Phoenix standards. So far everything was a walk on, so we decided to keep crossing our must rides off of our list.
We then walked onto Black Diamond. Once again, this indoor, classic themed, coaster, is always a must ride for us. After Black Diamond we walked over to Haunted Mansion. Our wristbands did not include Haunted Mansion, so we paid the extra $2.50 a piece to ride it. I wanted Zak to ride both dark rides that Knoebels keeps in such pristine condition.
Next we rode my favorite carousel. On Knoebels carousel you catch rings from an arm if you sit on an outside horse. There are tons of regular silver rings, but only one brass ring. Who ever gets the brass ring gets a free ride and bragging rights. Zak was able to catch on right away, and caught most the rings, as did the three Knoebels veterans. Any of us have yet to get the brass ring, and that Streak is still standing. We grabbed another ride later in the day, and still no luck. One day, one of us will get the brass ring.
After that we headed to my favorite bumper cars. Once again we walked on them. Now I tried to explain these bumper cars to Zak, but they were much better than he ever imagined bumper cars could be. We rode them twice in a row and grabbed another ride later in the day. It's pure joy just to watch people ride them, and even more fun and more violent to ride them. Here's an interesting story. In 2014 we visited a small park in New York called Hoffman's Playland, because we knew it was closing. They had a set of bumper cars identical to the ones at Knoebels. We were praying that Knoebels would purchase the cars. After we returned home from Knoebels on Sunday, ACE NY chapter, posted photos a bumper car at Knoebels that once ran at Hoffman's Playland. As I was going through my photos, and I take a lot of them, I saw my son, Hayden rode the bumper car in the photo posted this Sunday at Knoebels. Then I went through my Hoffman's Playland photos. There was my son Hayden in that same exact car at Hoffman's Playland in 2014. What are the chances, when we weren't even aware of it, until we returned home? I wish I knew how to post photos on here, so I could show you guys. It's without a doubt the same car. Very cool that Knoebels saved 3 of those cars, and Hayden rode the same exact car in 2 different locations.
After the bumper cars, we did the Sky lift for the very first time. I wanted to take some shots of the beautiful fall colors of Knoebels sitting in a valley of the PA mountains. Truly a beautiful site.
Then we headed over to Impulse, the Zier steel coaster. I was telling Zak how the kids and I rode Impulse on its very first day of operations. They were only running one train for some reason, and we actually had to wait about 10 minutes. Zak really liked Impulse, but unfortunately we only got that one ride, due to the single train operations.
Next we rode Kosmos Curves so Zak could get the coaster credit. The kids rode the motor boats also, but I passed. I wanted to get their photos from the bridge above.
After that we headed over to Twister. We walked onto a middle row, but it felt slow, and a little uneventful. We got back in line and waited for back seat. Now back seat was way better than the middle. We rode a few other flats along the way. We rode Cosmotron, and Zak was impressed with the special effects inside the building that are go along with the music. He also thought Fandango was really fun for a smaller version of a frisbee. Unfortunately, Downdraft was closed on this visit, which is a must ride for us, and we totally forgot about Stratosphere, the drop tower.
As the day was getting close the end, and our entire amusement park year was coming to a close, we decided to end our year on a mini marathon on The Phoenix. When we first went over, my daughter and I sat in the back seat, and there it was. The Phoenix we all know and love. Ejector air time on the double down and the 4 final hops. Zak got experience Phoenix Nirvana at its best. Row 3 was actually closed off all day, so back seat was the money seat. My daughter and I kept waiting for back seat, so we only got 3 more rides before the park closed, for a total of 5 on The Phoenix for the day. Zak and Hayden got a ride or 2 more than us, by taking the shortest line, after their back seat ride.
Zak was very impressed with Knoebels, and he is an enthusiast who usually prefers the huge parks like Cedar Point and Kings Island. He said all the coasters and flat rides at Knoebels were so much better than he ever could imagine. He, like us, now loves that place, and can't wait to return.
Well we started our year in April at Busch Gardens Williamsburg with a front seat ride on Invadr, and ended our season at Knoebels with a back seat ride on The Phoenix. We visited 17 different parks this year, with a 9 day Florida trip being the highlight the last week of August. It was another tremendous year. I feel so blessed that I get to share these experiences with my kids, and make these memories. Now starts the long, agonizing off season for us. I get back on the boat tomorrow, and don't get off in November. Don't have any plans to visit a park for a Christmas event, so now we have to wait 6 months for our next coaster ride. Until then, I'll have the memories of this year, and years before to reflect on. Those memories alone, is why we continue to do this year after year.
Thanks for reading,