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Jim S.

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Everything posted by Jim S.

  1. According to Coastin' Steve, the entrance path passes under the 2nd lift hill (he doesn't say where it starts) and will allow a view of the train in one of the ~270-degree turns.
  2. Actually, I thought DelGrosso's badly needed some landscaping around the water park. It looked like it could've just been put in this year with all the bare cement and metal. I have no idea where they're going to put the new coaster, unless it's going in the back of the parking lot or something. I asked the girl running the mouse and she didn't know.
  3. Our main objective was Lakemont, but we decided to stop at DelGrosso's since it was there. Even though the park had been open for food for hours and advertised that rides opened at 11, it was closer to 11:30 til all of the major rides were up and running. Wacky Worm: lets adults ride without kids, although my legs were almost too long to be comfortable. You get two laps of the track. Crazy Mouse: seemed to be braked a lot, but was still fun. Going down the biggest drop backwards on one trip was more forceful than I expected from going down it forwards. ex-Revolution: there were no signs of any construction. In fact, we only saw one piece of track on a trailer behind the sauce factory on our way out of the parking lot. Tipton Railroad: lamest train ride ever. Food: great. Get the potato salad. Then we headed to Lakemont. We went to Leap-The-Dips first, but there were only two of us and they wanted to have at least three people in the car. Since the park didn't seem to have a lot of visitors, we decided not to wait just yet. We rode the Toboggan a few times. I had read that it could be rough and requires defensive riding, but I didn't have any problems, although I was glad that the lap bar was heavily padded. The scariest part was going up the lift on my back. Then we went to the Skyliner, and had to wait for a few more people there too but didn't have to wait too long. We were a little wary of this coaster, despite its size, because it resembled the Dorney Thunderhawk which was terribly rough. But Skyliner is newer, even though it doesn't look like it, and rode pretty well. With a well-loaded train there was airtime on the first hill in most seats, and on other hills in the front and back seats. It felt like the Hershey Comet, although not as long. The best part was that they let us re-ride as many times as we wanted as long as nobody was waiting for our seat, and if there was we just had to switch seats. The kiddie coaster wasn't allowing adults to ride, but it's pretty lame anyway. The Wacky Worm has a more interesting layout. Finally we made it to Leap-The-Dips and didn't have to wait too long for other riders to come by. This was the most comfortable seat I've ever had on a roller coaster. It ran faster than I expected, especially when we had four adults in the car. Even though it doesn't run a train, the back seat of the car seemed to land a lot harder on the two largest dips than the front, in fact with a heavily-loaded car I got a double bounce once. The coaster was a lot more fun than I thought it would be. Waiting for extra riders wasn't that bad because it led to a lot of interesting conversations when other enthusiasts showed up. We rode the train ride at Lakemont too. It was a lot better than DelGrosso's. It isn't as long as Knoebels, but it goes along a stream and woods so there were a lot of animals hanging around. Speaking of animals, we walked over to the bridge to the water park and there were lots of paddle boat riders hanging out there feeding the fish. It was quite a sight seeing the huge carp fighting for food. Lakemont impressed me a lot more than I thought it would for the size of it. The only advice I would give visitors is not to arrive too early or too late unless you have enough people in your group to ride the coasters. Also, don't miss the model train club exhibit in a building next to the entrance and gift shop.
  4. I was at Lakemont today wearing my Phunfest shirt, and got into a conversation at Leap-The-Dips with a guy wearing a Flying Turns shirt. I think he had just been to Knoebels with a club. He said that if it opened this year, it probably wouldn't be til Phunfest. I didn't ask him whether that was official information or his own speculation. The issue, he seemed to think, was the train design. I also talked to a guy in the same group who had ridden the Euclid Beach Flying Turns. He said it was a wild ride, although a lot taller than the Knoebels version.
  5. I'm guessing the queue will have to go through the structure, because there isn't much room on the station side of the ride with the Looper and Flyers there, and if you look at the layout on Knoebels' main website it looks like the wider side of the station, which I assume would be the loading side, is the inner side toward the main part of the ride. It's hard to tell if the first lift is connected to the top of the helix yet with that tree in the way, but remember the issue of needing to build the storage track switches as trough. When I was there two weeks ago, the bottom of the helix wasn't connected to the second lift yet, presumably for that reason.
  6. There are 3 lifts, the last one is really short and it doesn't lead to a drop, just to the station. I don't know whether there are any traditional coasters with more than 2. I wish they would get the webcams fixed, they've been stuck since Friday. I emailed them and I got a reply that they'd pass it on, but they still haven't updated.
  7. That sounds a lot like the building that was covering a giant version of one of those stupid claw games the last two times I was there. Is this thing you described a new structure, or did they take the claw game out?
  8. I don't care about the ugliness of the themeing as long as the coasters are running. I saw efficient operations on Stormrunner on Good Friday this year when it was so cold that they were trying to keep the wheels warmed up (they actually resorted to saying so to the public), but otherwise yeah, there's way too much train-stacking on almost everything. The worst operations seem to be on Comet for some reason that I'll never understand. The whole crew needs to drive up to Knoebels sometime to see how to run a coaster.
  9. How many swans were in the park? I haven't seen more than 2 this year, last year there were 5 I think.
  10. There's a bit more to go than that. There appear to be no footers yet for the station itself, just for the track through it. Also, according to Coastin' Steve on Usenet, they need to build the switches to get trains in and out of the storage track even if they don't built the storage track until after the ride opens. But yeah, I think it'll open this summer.
  11. I was at Knoebels today from about 12:30 to 6:30. Phoenix and Twister both seemed to be running smoother than the last time I was there, although I only rode the front of Twister and Phoenix only has one rough spot anyway. But the real highlight of the day was the Flyers. When I got there, there were two operators, an old guy and a young guy. It looked like maybe the younger one was being trained. A few rides ahead of me, the old guy gets in for a ride and proceeds to snap all over the place, not just a few times but constantly. Then on the next ride, something incredible happens: he starts telling people, while the ride is running, how to snap! The ride after that, he tells me that they've had to lower the speed of the ride 4 times in the last few years because they had someone spin 360 degrees and twist the cables. Then it's my turn, he asks me if I know what I'm doing, I say I've got the general idea, he gives me a few pointers and then says that I shouldn't worry, if it gets too bad he'll just slow it down a little. I had a pretty good flight, although when the wind picked up it didn't seem to take much effort. It was a very long ride too. I got some pretty good slack but didn't have any really violent snaps. The flyer behind me must have though, because as I'm walking out I hear him telling the rider that when they snap that hard he likes to check the cables before the next ride. I was pretty stunned at all of this after reading all the complaints about snapping being banned at PPP last year.
  12. I thought Twister was smoother today than opening weekend. Even the one truly nasty spot, the turn into the helix, didn't bother me for once. (But then again, maybe I was anticipating it better. Defensive riding helps a lot after you get familiar with the track.) Wood coasters seem to vary a lot from day to day, and Twister a lot more than Phoenix. Also, the front is safer to ride than the back if roughness bothers you.
  13. I'm pretty sure the FT will open this year, although I don't know when. On the log flume, I've found that you don't get nearly as much water if you sit in the back. In fact, if you don't have a full log, keeping all the weight in the back keeps much water from coming in the log at all. (I don't like getting soaked whether I'm carrying a camera or not.) The haunted house was really scary when I was a kid, now not so much The scariest part on it isn't even a monster. (I won't spoil it for anyone.) If you liked Gasoline Alley, ride it at the Phoenix Phall Phunfest when it'll have even better decorations than the haunted house, if they do as good a job on it as they did last year. (Of course the coasters are fun in the dark too, and Phoenix even benefits from some of the Gasoline Alley effects. Last year there was a crashed flying saucer at the bottom of the double-down.)
  14. We saw Talon restarting around 9 as we were walking out after stopping in a gift shop, but we were completely soaked since we were almost to Steel Force when it closed, and we figured it would be too cold to ride wet We really weren't disappointed with the number of rides we got. It was sprinkling for a while before they closed the coasters. We had two rides on Hydra in the rain. So I wouldn't say "immediately". I don't know if I would want to ride in serious rain anyway.
  15. I don't know whether it's always been that way, but the only thing I saw below the JoJo roll was landscaping boulders. Talon, on the other hand, has large amounts of netting covering the entrance and exit paths below the track.
  16. Had a good first trip to Dorney yesterday. Arrived at opening, stayed til the coasters were shut down for rain around 8:30. I was glad to see that Dorney had mostly short, fast-moving lines as mentioned in other trip reports. Most seats other than the front were just a train or two wait a lot of times. Everything was running two trains except Thunderhawk and Laser. We got much more than our money's worth in rides, even with the rain. Wild Mouse: Maurer-Sohne, looks like a mirror image of the Mack ride I built the Faller model of last winter but has no tunnel. Also has spiral stairs rather than ladders, but other than that the structural steel looked very familiar A consistently slower line due to lack of capacity. Nice artwork on the cars. Braked a more than Hershey's, which has little or no braking, but still good. It was accepting riders by the time we got into the park, while the other coasters were all still testing. Talon: B&M inverted. Great ride, very smooth. The first two elements are about the same as Hershey's Great Bear, but the rest of the track is much more interesting. The only thing GB has going for it is the roar, which is absent here. The new on-ride video system was only working for half the seats, also the cameras for the front row are mounted much higher than those for the other rows and so give a less interesting view. At one point a train was stopped on the lift, giving a jolt to the front of the station. I thought I heard someone yelling about a cell phone but I'm not sure. Hydra: B&M floorless. On our first ride, the girl sitting next to me warned me that she screamed a lot so she hoped I didn't go deaf in my left ear. Very courteous, I thought. Then we left the station, and on the JoJo roll her cell phone fell from wherever she was carrying it and smashed on the rocks. She spent the rest of the ride swearing about it so much that she forgot to scream. When we got back to the station, she told one of the ops about it and they told her to come back at closing. She didn't like that, so she went to one of the other ops and got told the same thing. She swore all the way down the ramp, at which point we went in opposite directions. Every steel coaster should start with a roll like this to clean out all the junk before it gets up to speed As for the ride itself, it seemed to be over with much faster than Talon, I don't know why because the length and speed aren't much different. It wasn't as smooth as Talon, but wasn't bad either. I thought it started to develop a headbanging problem in the middle of the afternoon when it was getting warm, but it was better later and I decided that maybe the ride was OK and I was getting dehydrated. My girlfriend didn't notice any excessive rattling. In any case, I thought it was better keeping my head off of the headrest than against it. I rode the back row a few times since this isn't an inverted coaster and wouldn't block my view, and it was fun watching the train moving through the curves. The forces also seemed to be better in the back. Thunderhawk: Schmeck/PTC modified out&back. Normally when I see trip reports accusing a wood coaster that's still in operation of being rough, I figure they're just not wood people. OK, this one was rough. I didn't mind it too much in the first and third seats, but the back seat required serious defensive riding, and my girlfriend bruised her ribs in that seat even though my side of the car was getting most of the crunching. I was surprised at how many airtime moments there were since this coaster is significantly smaller and slower than the Hershey Comet and that ride has hardly any airtime at all. But the thing that really annoyed me was the brakes. They were only running one train and there was a trim brake before the final bunny hops, but the main brakes were still the roughest I've ever experienced. Forget Schwarzkopf, forget Vekoma, this was ridiculous. This ride seriously needs a sign warning everyone to brace for the stop! It's also the only wood coaster I've been on that actually needs its seatbelts, but not to keep you in the car, to keep you from injuring yourself on the lap bar. I had to wait for one train stopped on the lift here too, I don't know what the problem was. Steel Force: Morgan out&back w/helix. Fantastic ride, floater airtime everywhere, strong enough that the retracting seatbelts don't detract from the experience at all. Despite this, one train did get stopped on the lift because someone unfastened his seat belt, or so we were told. He wasn't taken off the ride though. This was the second time we saw a train stopped on this one, but I don't know what the cause was the first time. Two trains were running, the third train was nowhere in sight but the wait times were still reasonable. In fact, there were a lot of half-empty trains going for quite a while after opening. Laser: Schwarzkopf. This portable ride is still set up on blocks. It packs a lot of turns into a small space and I don't know where the name comes from because it's anything but straight. A nice solid fun double-looper, but over very fast despite all the turns. Note to future riders: this ride has no bag drop, and you're not allowed to leave anything on the tiny platform even during one-train operation. (Does this ever even run both trains? I can hardly see how there'd be time or space.) Rumors that it would be getting magnetic brakes were false, but it doesn't need them. The rest of the park: Water rides: The shoot-the-chutes was running all day and enough people were riding it to fill one boat, even in the evening when it got cool. The rapids raft ride seemed to be running empty boats every time I looked, but it wasn't really visible from any of the coasters so I don't know whether anyone rode at any point. The log flume spent a good part of the day down and a good part of the rest of the time running empty boats, but I did finally see people riding late. Security: Weren't hanging out at the entrance bothering innocent people with bag searches. Take note, Hershey! Were hanging around the rides keeping an eye on the lines even though most of the queue areas weren't in use. Take note, Hershey! (On the down side, what was hanging out at the entrance was a mob of aggressive photographers.) Cleanliness: Trash cans everywhere, staff constantly sweeping up even tiny bits of dropped food and whatnot. Bathrooms mostly clean, some graffiti but at least an attempt had been made to clean it. If it wasn't for Storm Runner and the two GCI coasters, there'd be no reason to go to Hershey. All the steel coasters here are so much better.
  17. Yikes! I haven't rode it yet, but pictures of the Idlewild Wild Mouse show multiple signs warning you to brace yourself for the stop, so I'm imagining it's not good. Of course, it's a Vekoma. Speaking of Vekoma, the Hershey Sidewinder stops pretty quick. Speaking of Hershey, Sooperdooperlooper's block brake can be a lot harder than it needs to be.
  18. The building that was the Wok and Roll now is a restaurant called the Gourmet Grille. It has food from several regions, similar to the International Food Court at Knoebels except more expensive (although some of the servings are bigger) and without any Chinese food. I had a chicken burrito that was large and flavorful, but not very warm, for $8, and a bowl of creamy chicken and broccoli soup that was delicious but small for $4. My girlfriend had a plate of pasta that was average, I don't remember what it cost but I'm guessing $5-$6. (On the other hand, if I remember rightly, they had chicken fingers for less than the Minetown Restaurant's ridiculous price.) When I was there around 5:30 on Friday it was pretty dead, while the Minetown Restaurant (the only other indoor place to eat? -- please correct me if I'm wrong) was packed. I don't know if this had anything to do with Great Bear, the Kissing Tower, and the Falcons being closed.
  19. But I was glad that it was, and it was a lot of fun. It was also nice to see an enthusiastic operator who tried to keep dispatches going as fast as possible, unlike Comet which I'll never understand.
  20. Since I had to do a lot of wandering around waiting for things to open, instead of narrating my day in chronological order I'll just list the coasters in rough geographical order and note their high and low points... Comet: I managed to get to it shortly after opening before the line got past one switchback, which was good because it was running only one train with their usual inexplicably slow checking and double-checking of lap bars and then for some reason waiting around before dispatching the train. Later while I was trying to kill time waiting for repairs to Stormrunner, I got in line when it was past three switchbacks and there was still only one train running. I don't know why, because we weren't getting enough snow flurries to wet the ground, it has a long covered brake run, and with the trim brake in the middle of the course it doesn't exactly fly into the brakes anyway. Also there were a lot of staff in the station seemingly doing nothing. Someone needs to go to Knoebels and learn how to run a coaster, except I expect they'd die of shock. As for the ride itself, it was no more nor less than I expected. Average roughness for an antique woody, decent speed, considering the track condition, on the large hills but not a lot of action on the bunny hops due to the trim brake. I rode the front seat the first time and the back seat the second time, and the airtime did seem slightly better in the back but was still nothing special. Was rougher in the back, as expected. Sooperdooperlooper: Reasonable lines all day, one train running, seemed to move at a good pace and had a reasonable amount of force in the helix, as opposed to my last visit during their Halloween event when on an early ride it seemed to barely be going fast enough to do the loop and the helix was little more exciting than Trailblazer. As I left the area after one ride, I saw the train come out of the station and then stop with the first car or two on the lift hill. I could barely make out someone yelling about someone's lap bar not being down. I didn't stick around long enough to see how the situation played out. Great Bear: There was a tiny, hand-written note in the ticket booth I went through saying that the Great Bear, the Falcons, and the Kissing Tower were down. I kept watching Great Bear to see if it opened since I've heard many times that it doesn't run under 40 degrees, but it never did. Apparently either there wasn't a note in all the ticket booths or nobody was paying attention, because while eating at the restaurant across from the station (was Wok And Roll, now Gourmet Grille with an assortment of ethnicities on the menu) I saw quite a few people walk up to the station and look surprised. I suspect the not-paying-attention part, because you can see the track from the entire park. Sidewinder: Went down while I was in line. The train was towed up the first spike and then hung there. Meanwhile there was a loud continuous sound of air being released from somewhere under the station. I left the area to investigate a rumor of the Wild Mouse being open so I don't know how long it was down or if there was a lift evacuation or the train returned to the station. Later I rode the front and back. The back seemed to have more headbanging. Stormrunner: Seemed to be running slower than last time. It looked like it hung on top of the top hat and in the top of the Immelman for quite a while, but I told myself it was just because I was on the ground, it would probably seem faster when I was riding it. Then... it went down while I was in line. Rolled out, brakes dropped, message played, brakes raised. After waiting a while I left the line, and checking back later I saw that the train had been emptied but was still sitting on the launch track. Some people waited in the station for quite a while but the ride was down most of the afternoon as far as I know. It opened around suppertime and the line was a lot shorter than it was earlier. Usually the park is busiest around that time, but this time it seemed to be emptying out early because of the cold. It was indeed slower! The airtime and the hangtime were superb, and the roll not so nerve-wracking. On one wait in the station, the operator was exhorting riders to have their loose objects ready to stow as soon as the gates open because he was afraid if they didn't keep dispatching trains often enough it wouldn't stay warm enough to make it over the top hat. When it got to the top he would start gesturing for it to keep going, and one of the riders got into the act too. After that the line became very short, but twice we had to wait for the restraints to be unlocked for someone to surrender her purse. The second offender apparently didn't want to leave it behind because she left the ride. I didn't see any rollbacks, but another enthusiast told me that at one point during the day it very nearly did so and they shut it down for a while afterward. Trailblazer: Didn't ride it. Looked like a sizeable crowd in the station, and it's not that good compared to everything else in the park. Hershey's literature ranks this as a higher thrill than Sooperdooperlooper. Either this is a typo or SDL was braked to death at some point in history. Roller Soaker: Wasn't open, nor was it expected to be, obviously. Wild Mouse: Nothing in Midway America was supposed to be open, but while in Sidewinder's station I saw the Ferris wheel running and heard that Wild Mouse was seen running. I walked back there around the Boardwalk, which looks much closer to completion than I was led to believe it would be and can be seen in its entirety because the wooden fence present last year was removed. The Merry Derry Dip slides were also open. Unfortunately Wild Mouse was only warming up. Much later I saw that there were finally people on it so I went back again. I thought I heard a wooden coaster running but it turned out to only be the Whip. Wild Mouse was its usual insane self with scary laterals everywhere and airtime on the big dip. The line wasn't too bad most of the time, probably due to the out-of-the-way location. This also gave an excellent overhead view of the new water area. Wildcat: Wasn't scheduled to open, and didn't. I was hoping they would open it to show off the new trains, and had heard that it was on a standby list to open if there were big crowds. Lightning Racer: Also wasn't scheduled to open, and didn't. With all the troubles with the steel coasters today, it was ironic that they didn't run the two other wood coasters. It also seemed absurd to have people walk all the way back through the Boardwalk perimeter and Midway America just for the wheel and the slides, and people who obviously hadn't looked at the ride list seemed disappointed at the lack of rides open in this section. Plus, LR has a huge capacity. Considering that the Boardwalk construction wasn't impeding traffic as I had heard it would, they should've scheduled these two to open.
  21. By the way, if anybody is a registered poster and hasn't downloaded Robb's video of the Cyclone yet, what are you waiting for? It's a riot! What the heck was wrong with the track that made the train jump like that on the straight stretch? The video was shaking too much to tell
  22. It looks like it has a zig-zag in one picture, but I don't see it in the rest of them. If it's there, it must be very gradual.
  23. Can you persuade them to open it for Good Friday? Neither of you folks' coasters are on the list to be open. I'm looking forward to riding anything at this point, but as a wood fan it'll still be a letdown if the only wood running is the one which isn't allowed to run at its designed speed. (It'll be three more weeks after that til I can ride an unaltered Schmeck and get some airtime that actually involves being off my seat.)
  24. Since I care about the ride, not the art, I need to mention Knoebel's Twister for having the station in the middle of the double helix. A lot of stations don't let you get a clear view of the train running at top speed, let alone twice.
  25. I went to Hershey on the 16th. Lines were super-short during the day and super-long at night. I had my first Flyer ride ever, which is weird since my home park is Knoebels. I took home a block of fudge and a bag of popcorn, both of which I still haven't finished. I was in line for a nighttime monorail ride when one of the drivers came in fast and jammed on the brakes. I ended up on the same train and her next trip was normal.
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