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1st TR! Our Penn. Trip with Amusement Parks -- and Culture!

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I'm gonna attempt it. . . a Trip Report!


surprisingly, we didn't seem to take that many pics in some parks (in particular, HershyPark inside the park). . but hopefully it will be an enjoyable read.

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I wrote this up for my friends on Facebook (but without the pics). . so apologies if in some spots, I'm relaying well known info



So finally getting all the pics organized, and am ready for a trip report!


Our trip thru Pennsylvania Day1 & 2 (Pittsburgh/Kennywood):


The first day was mainly flying from Austin to Pittsburgh, with a layover in Chicago – too funny, as I was JUST there. . at least this time it was at a different airport (O’Hare vs Midway).


Of course, this was the start of our adventure on American Airlines, and not only was the flight from Austin to Chicago delayed, but the connecting flight (even tho I had left us a 2 hour layover window) out of Chicago was also delayed!


So by the time we landed in Pittsburgh we were almost an hour late, and I was concerned about the Rental car place being open, since the Pittsburgh airport, while a big airport was almost deserted (it reminded me of any flight coming into Austin past 10pm, where everything is locked up and all restaurants closed).


So we rushed thru the airport, and to the rental cars, and although they had to find a car for us (we had a reservation, but they didn’t have a car handy and had to clean one up for us), Nick took care of that while I grabbed the luggage off the carousel. I met up with him as he got the car – they ended up giving us a white Ford Focus (which got GREAT mileage and we enjoyed driving for the trip), and we took off for the hotel.


As I’m a planner, I had a nice, thick packet of Google directions printed out with us, from each location to the next – hotel to hotel, and hotel to each park, etc. These worked out GREAT and we really only got lost once due to missing a turn off from Hershey to Bloomsburg, so we had a bit of an extra scenic drive thru the mountains, so what?!


Anyways, we found our way to the Pittsburgh Hotel (Hampton Inn on the Waterfront) very easily following the directions.


Kennywood is a classic Amusement park, and much of the park (and several of the rides) are declared Historical Monuments. . . but it’s NOT in the better part of Pittsburgh.


I was a little concerned when booking a hotel in the Waterfront – since it’s less than a 10 minute drive from the Park, but was pleasantly surprised to see “the Waterfront” has been getting “upgraded” to a shopping destination – meaning tons of restaurants (TGI Fridays, Steakhouses, Chilis) as well as several big stores (Best Buy, World Market, Target, etc) and even an IMAX theatre and AMC 14 across from the hotel. . so it was very safe right where we were. Tho the front desk staff did tell us to be careful if venturing outside of the safer section.


The hotel sits at the back of the development, on the river, and we had a pleasant room with a river view, on the 1st floor just off the breakfast room (nice and convenient).


We hadn’t eaten dinner yet, and as it was just after 9, I convinced Nick to drive down to Kennywood just so we could be sure to have no problems the next day. . it was a piece of cake, and although we didn’t get close to the front entrance, we were able to park in the lot and watch several of the rides the evening before (so Nick knew going in there is no way he was going to ride Black Widow – a giant swing ride that I swear swings up over 17 stories while spinning).


We grabbed a quick bite at an absolutely disgusting IHOP, as the other restaurants near us were closed at 9, and we knew IHOP was open 24 hours, and then turned in to be refreshed for our big day the next day.


The Weather forecast was 90% chance of rain . . but we had no option, so we went.


Not a DROP of rain all day, but the forecast kept crowds away, with most everything in the park a walk on! (Nick even rode Phantom’s Revenge – the tallest coaster in the park (although he kept his eyes closed)).


The park is amazing, and the one of a kind rides fantastic – yes, even the dull ones (they have at least 3 rides that are the last of their kind operating in the world, and several others that are one of only a few left in the world). As noted, much of the park is declared Historical Monuments, so you are seeing the rides/queues as they actually looked in the 1930’s, and 1940’s . . .but oh, they have lots of modern rides too!


Our favorite was the JackRabbit roller coaster, with it’s famous “double-dip” drop. . your ass is out of the seat for the 2nd half down the hill! Fantastic! We also liked the Byern Kurve toboggans, the Log Jammer flume ride (bought a picture magnet for the fridge), and the Racer classic coaster. By 6pm we were pooped, and had ridden everything we wanted to (all but ~4 rides in the park total). .so headed back to the hotel to crash.


Here are the pics from day1/2. . enjoy!


flying from Chicago to Pittsburgh. . my, looks so FAMILAR!

(was just there at the end of April for the first time ever)


a sneak peek at Kennywood from the night before we went (it was a Monday night around 9pm, and the parking lot was almost deserted)


at the entrance -- we were there about 20 minutes prior to opening, and you can see how dead it was. That 90% rain forecast kept folks away. . .


Never did quiet figure out what the deal is with the Kennywood Kangaroo. . but I wanted a pic with the sculpt in kiddieland anyways :)


Nick in line for JackRabbit.

Our favorite ride in the park, we rode it multiple times.


a highly original picture of Phantom's Revenge that I'll bet you've never seen before!



at the entrance to Black Widow.

I hadn't planned to ride it (and Nick is terrified of heights), but when we walked by, there was literally FOUR people in line, so I went ahead and got on.


I'm able to looks so classy while getting ready to ride, huh?

I had to sit next to this lady, and her two daughters were put on the opposite side behind us. . I guess they needed to even out the weight?


Love this pic of Nick in front of the classic "Shoot the Chutes". . . . this was close to 1pm (we were headed towards Potato Patch to grab lunch), and look how many people are behind him! Remember. . the park was OPEN.




hey. . I recognize that Kangaroo thing in the front seat. . .what's that about?


after getting our Potato Patch fries. . . so there's some people milling about in this area!


View of the river from the Kennywood train.

We actually LOVED the train (even tho it was short) and really should have ridden it twice to look at the history of Kennywood signs that we missed the first time.


Racer getting ready to go!

It had fairly slow loading that day, but I'm guessing that had more to do with needing to fill up the cars, so they can go rather than poor operations.


Hey. .it's the Kennywood "arrow" in front of Log Jammer!


I took it as a challenge to try and get pics with all the park mascots on the trip.

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Day 3 & 4: Hershey Park


After a great (and tiring) day at Kennywood, we got up and checked out of the hotel by 10am (after eating the complimentary breakfast of course!). This was the longest drive of our trip, about 3 ½ hours from Pittsburgh to Hershey, Pennsylvania.


It was still pretty overcast, but no rain, and the drive was beautiful with lots of mountains & hills, completely covered with green, and more than a few long tunnels cutting thru the mountains/hills. We had no idea we’d be driving thru such hilly country, but it was a pleasant drive and the directions I had printed out were perfect and we got to the Hershey Lodge with no issues.


There was a heavy mist that started from the moment we pulled into Hershey, and it had gotten cooler, but no real rain, so we still planned to go to the Park that night -- since tickets for the next day get you in the night before for 2 ½ hours prior to close (it turns out that because we were staying “on Property” we actually got to go in 3 ½ hours prior to close, so we could get in at 6:30 pm, AND get in an hour early on Thursday if we chose). As the Hershey Lodge also has free shuttle service to and from the park (and free parking at the Lodge), we didn’t have to worry about parking fees either!


I asked at reception if they could put us away from all the little kids (I told the front desk that I realized that we’re at Hershey Park, and of course there are going to be a lot of kids, but mentioned our horror story at Circus Circus in Vegas (where even tho they made a big show of putting us in an upgraded, and beautiful room, we were surrounded by crying babies the whole weekend, and it ruined the experience).


The front desk said that not only do they completely understand, but since we were travelling at the perfect time (ie: just before Penn. Schools are out), they had plenty of options to put us near the quieter parts of the Lodge. We ended up on the 2nd floor of the “5th Avenue” wing – two stories, with the upper floor having outside access to the hilled parking lot, as well as standard indoor access. And a cute little seating area outside the door, in the parking lot.


I believe we, and one other guest, were the only lodgers in this wing (we were the only two cars parked by our outside doors). So yeah, it was Super Quiet. Small, but nice room, with Hershey Kiss wall-paper, a super comfortable King bed, and free chocolate bars upon check in.


As it was only ~2pm, it was too early to head to the park, so instead we went to the Bear’s Den restaurant in the lodge lobby – it’s themed to an Ice Hockey rink, and had a nice lunch at a reasonable price too! We also shopped a bit in the gift shop, walked around the property looking at the pools (the indoor one was PACKED with kids), and the game rooms, and went back to the room and changed for an evening in the park, planning on spending an hour or so at Chocolate World (outside the main gates) before we went into the park at 6:30pm.


The mist had stopped, but it had gotten breezier and cooler, and the minute we stepped off the shuttle, Nick knew he had made a mistake in not wearing enough layers (even tho he had put on two long-sleeve shirts (his body fat is super low due to the chemo still. . but trying to put weight back on him!). So first stop in Chocolate World, was to buy him a Hershey Sweatshirt.


Then we still had some time to kill, and tho they have several options, most just didn’t appeal to us (chocolate tasting class, baking class, 4D interactive film). So we bought tickets for the “Make Your Own Candy-Bar” which tho completely automated, and pretty expensive (you end up paying $15 for one candy bar), was still a total hoot and we loved it.


We then did the obligatory: Chocolate: the Ride (or whatever they call it). . with singing cows, and riding in what I think are supposed to be giant Hershey Kisses. . .but really looked like giant cow turds (hey, it fits. .the singing cows were all over this ride, and the first image you see on the ride are 3 swinging cow butts!).


We wandered around the store for a bit, and tho it’s a huge store, most of what they have was not park related, but more candy related. . so we didn’t actually buy anything else at Chocolate World. But it was close enough to 6:30 that we headed over to the front gates of Hershey Park, where about 6 other folks were waiting for the early admission.


Once again, the weather had kept folks away – I guess that mist from earlier in the day had really affected the park, and on Nick’s iPhone we saw some heavy storms were actually heading our way, but that was still a few hours out. We went in, and walked right onto Skyrush. Nick didn’t ride it, tho I did, as it’s the biggest thing you see from outside the park – a huge yellow coaster.


I HATED it. I mean HATED it. With the power of a thousand burning suns. I sat towards the back on a “wing” so extending out over the open air. Not only was it super, super rough (jiggled my brain up good), but I was hanging on for dear life. I know, I know, the point of the ride is to make you feel like you are going to fall out. I did NOT like that feeling. Didn’t go near this again for the rest of our time at the park.


We went next door to the smooth SuperDuperLooper (Nick loved it), and then rode the old woodie: the Comet (both walk ons). . . We both liked the Comet, but it would have been better if they weren’t breaking so often, so you never really got up any speed over those bunny hills.


Great Bear and Coal Crackers were walk ons, but due to the weather, and me not wanting to do another looping coaster so soon after Skyrush (which ironically has no inversions).. we saved those for the next day and headed towards Farenheight – which was down all evening, the car had gotten stuck on the lift hill. So instead I went on Storm Runner (the launched coaster – I LOVED it), and we headed over to the wild mouse, that Nick and I both enjoyed.


It was about time for a snack, but the place I had been recommended wasn’t open (I guess the lack of crowds shut them down early), so we got some Perogies from a cart by the Wild Mouse, and they were decent (but would get blown out of the water by the much better, and much cheaper perogies at Knobel’s in a couple of days). I think we rode a few more flats, including the Whip, and then decided to give Wildcat a try (one of the two big wooden coasters in the park). Wow. .what a mistake. It was like driving a car with square wheels thru a street full of pot holes. Rough, rough, rough. . . we both got off it hurting and aching. We didn’t even want to try Lightning Racer (the other woodie in that part of the park), despite being told by an operator that one is way smoother (and it was, when we rode it the next day). So we slowly started making our way towards the Carousel near the front of the park again.


This park has a LOT of hills, by the way. It’s a beautiful park, but we were exhausted just from going up and down the hills, and had to keep stopping to rest. LOL, yes, we’re old.


By this point it was only ~8:20pm. . .we’d only been in the park for Preview Night for about 2 hours, but had ridden enough, and due to the lack of crowd, most of it was the stuff we expected to have long waits the next day. The line of heavy storms was coming in too, and we decided to beat that back to the Hotel (tho not before stopping to get some kettle corn on the way out. . it smelled so good, and was delicious).


We stopped at the lobby bar on the way back in, so I could have a “famous” Hershey’s Chocolate Martini (I ended up getting a White Chocolate Raspberry one), which honestly?. . was disgusting for the first sip, but then once the chocolate started to seep into it, got pretty tasty. I didn’t realize you get to keep the glass, so I suddenly had a giant Hershey’s logo martini glass to schlep around with us for the rest of the trip 


If it stormed heavy that night, I slept right thru it.. we both decided not to get up early for the 9am entry to the park and instead slept until 10, went to the breakfast restaurant at the lodge (the buffet looked good, but we weren’t that hungry, so instead ordered off the menu). My Eggs Benedict were overcooked, and they quickly replaced them with a perfect batch, but other than that small snafu, the breakfast restaurant was great too.


The forecast was for Rain, and there was a light drizzle going on, but we decided, we’re here, let’s go. So at ~11:30 we caught the shuttle to the park, but instead of going to HersheyPark, we went back to Chocolate World, and bought tickets for the Trolly tour around Hershey. Cute and really, really cheesy, with actors on the trolly that change costume and sing and dance (and hand out chocolate) as they tell you the history of Hershey. We enjoyed it, and it was reasonably priced for a nice tour around the town.


We actually set foot in the park some time around 2pm and the drizzle had stopped, and the crowds were light, so we just started to our right and started riding each thing as we came to it (re-riding what we wanted to from the night before), or riding new things for the first time. Several things were broken as we got to them, but this park was just fantastic about fixing down rides, and every one of the rides that were down when we first approached? . . were back up and running when tried again after detouring somewhere else first.


We really did ride every “adult” ride in the park (even the Monorail and the train), but I ended up skipping Farenheight. . I didn’t want to get stuck, and it looked an awful lot like SkyRocket, which I had ridden two days earlier at Kennywood. . so I passed on one of the “big rides”. . but still. . Storm Runner (Launched coaster) in front seat more than made up for it.


Even though we had gotten to the park at 2, by 7pm, we were really “done”. . having ridden (and re-ridden) everything we wanted to. . .and not having any interest in the shows, we went ahead and called it a night, and Headed back to the hotel. Once there, we went to the “fancier” Hershey Grill restaurant on property and had a great meal, before relaxing in the room, and turning in for the night.


The next day was our drive to Bloomsburg and the park I had been most looking forward to: Knobel’s


On the Penn. Turnpike headed to Hershey!


We stopped at a Service Plaza for potty/refreshment break, and I made Nick pose with the sign




Don't we look classy?. . . dressed to make our own Candy Bar.


(why yes, I DID keep the aprons)


Nick making his bar.


Nick making his bar.


Nick making his bar.


I WAS thrilled to be there. . not sure why I'm making this face. . . LOL.


all those folks in the pic?. .they are leaving . . Chocolate World is outside the main gates of Hershey Park


At first we couldn't tell what these were (thought they were squirrels or rats). . they were all over the Lodge!. . . but then we caught on with a pic. . it's a bunny!




Heading towards Hershey Park front gate now. . bye bye Chocolate World (until tomorrow)



Finally!. . at the front entrance!


and look at that overcast sky.


I'm actually a Jolly Rancher, but I liked Mr. Peanut Butter Cup better for a picture.


Nick wanted to be with the Jolly Rancher (think he's just happy he was tall enough) :p






awww. . so happy on the Carousel.


(you can tell from the lack of crowd that it had been drizzly off and on all day)


From the Trolly Ride, a look at the streetlamps in Downtown Hershey.


(hard to tell in the pic, but the one in front is brown (unwrapped), and the one behind it is silver with a tab (wrapped).


The Hershey Mansion



From the Trolly. . .sorry it's so overcast and hard to see, but good overview of the park from in front of the Hotel Hershey


From the Trolly. . .sorry it's so overcast and hard to see, but good overview of the park from in front of the Hotel Hershey


From the Trolly. . .sorry it's so overcast and hard to see, but good overview of the park from in front of the Hotel Hershey


From the Trolly. . .sorry it's so overcast and hard to see, but good overview of the park from in front of the Hotel Hershey


From the Trolly. . .sorry it's so overcast and hard to see, but good overview of the park from in front of the Hotel Hershey


Score! Hershey Mascot.


2 down!


With my Chocolate Martini at the end of a full day of HersheyPark & Sightseeing.

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Interesting report...sorry that the weather wasn't a bit more cooperative at Hershey, but it looks like you still got to see most everything at the park. We took the same tour around Hershey during Christmas one year and it was a lot of fun...especially for Michael's grand kids.


In regards to Skyrush, just about everyone in my group that rode it when we visited two years ago didn't like it either. I was even a bit skeptical myself after one ride on it, but it grew on me last year when I went on it again...it is certainly a VERY intense coaster & one that may not be for everybody.


I think that you would have enjoyed Fahrenheit, however...it's a pretty smooth,fun compact coaster with a nice airtime hill near the end.


And Lightning Racer seems like a somewhat underrated coaster...but one of favorite woodies. It's amazing how that is so good but Wildcat is so awful!

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Interesting report...sorry that the weather wasn't a bit more cooperative at Hershey, but it looks like you still got to see most everything at the park. We took the same tour around Hershey during Christmas one year and it was a lot of fun...especially for Michael's grand kids.




They actually told us this was the "Summer" version of the tour, so it must be different (either slightly or majorly) with the one they do for Winter.


but no worries, regardless of the weather, we had a great time. The weather worked in our favor, keeping most everything a walk on! and We did ride almost everything in the park (at least everything we wanted to ride).


we even rode Howler, despite worry it would make us sick (it didn't). . and BOTH sides of the cars (Antique and raceway) LOL



and we loved Lightning Racer, tho preferred the Thunder Track to the Lightning one.


I'll try to get Knobel's, and maybe first day in Philly up tomorrow. . as you may have noticed, I'm a pretty detailed writer. Hope it's been interesting!

Edited by bert425
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Am I the only person in the world who kind of likes wildcat? I must have just caught it on a good day in the right seat or something. I did like lightning racer a lot more though.

Edited by x2isawesome
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Day 5 & 6: Knobel’s


Since it had been so wet and icky, the idea of walking thru the gardens at Hershey Hotel didn’t really appeal to us, and Nick decided he didn’t want to go to the car museum that was close by.

So instead, we just slept in and went down to the coffee shop in the lobby for a light breakfast (egg sandwich) before heading out to Bloomsburg (where we were staying for Knobel’s)


This was the shortest drive of the trip, only expected to take about an hour and 15 minutes, but we decided just to go ahead and head out anyways. Good thing we did too, as this is the one part of the trip where my printed directions failed us! Up in the hills, we missed a turn, and it took a while for us to realize that we had gone way longer than the “7 miles” the directions had indicated. There was literally no one around, and so after driving aimlessly for 20 minutes or so, I told Nick to turn around and we’d go back to the last place we saw a place to ask (a little gas station with a general store). So we backtracked, and pulled into the store, and as we are getting out of the car, I notice across the street a sign with the name of the street we had missed on our directions.

But surely Google maps wouldn’t be directing us to cut thru a small town. . must just be a coincidence?


So I decided to go inside to ask for directions and the counter ladies (three of em) quickly decide that I should talk to the lady in the back who’s stocking the beer cooler, as she will know! So this adorable little lady comes out, takes a look at my printed directions and says “why the hell do they make EVERYTHING so difficult?”

She tells me that the directions I have are “silly” and that she’ll give me better directions to Bloomsburg. I was a little wary, because once I go “off map” we’re really screwed if we get lost, but I wrote down the directions she told me:


“go to the light at the top of the hill, and take a right. Then go to the football field, and turn on the street that runs between the restaurant (no name, just THE restaurant), and the football field. Then just follow the road. . .it’s twisty and will keep us going for a good 15 miles and we’ll think we’re lost, but just keep following it. It will put us to Bloomsburg the easiest way. I know, because I go that way every Saturday to eat at the Olive Garden”


LOL. . it was like a scene out of a bad comedy film, the four small town ladies helping the two lost gay boys find their way from the woods!


But we followed her directions, and lo and behold, we started seeing Knobel’s signs, so that relieved us. At one point on this twisty road, it started to get overcast, just as we passed a gated off bridge that looked like it was going towards an abandoned . . something. I joked to Nick as we passed, “that looks like the bridge that takes you to “Silent Hill!” And then we rolled thru an old town that had gothic (and crumbling) old churches, before getting to the center of town (I believe it’s called Catawissa), a true old school small town – tiny little supermarket on the main street – but it was charming, and I wish we had stopped. But it was starting to get overcast, as I said, and we decided we better find the hotel.


A few more wrong turns (but minor backtracking fixed it), and we were at the Comfort Suites, Bloomsburg, up on a hill – in the parking lot of a Lowe’s and a Wal*Mart. Really.


The parking lot was almost completely deserted, but the lady at he desk told me that everyone was at the fairgrounds (never did find out what was going on there), and that they DID have a room for us, but it didn’t face the nice view from the hill. Since they were so busy, our room faced the Lowe’s loading dock.


Oh well, we were just gonna sleep there so who cares about the view? Nice room with an odd design – there is a wall that acts as a room divider between the bed, and the sofa, and the sofa unfolds into a sleeper. . so we could have easily fit 6 people in that room. Also it included a Microwave and a Fridge, which was nice (we loaded up on Sodas from Wal*mart).


As it was so early (only around 3, I think), we decided to check out the rest of the hotel – small indoor pool, game room, breakfast area (that doubles as a bar at night!), and free internet, including a desktop system set up in the lobby for guests to use (I used it to post on Theme Park Review messageboards).

The front desk clerk told us it was about to get really busy as the storms were coming in and folks would be back soon. She also suggested if we have time, we should go up the road to see the town where they filmed some of the movie “Silent Hill” ! (what the heck!!!!).


So we went up to the room to relax and watch the weather channel. The heavy rain seemed to be coming in waves, so we decided we’d hang out for a bit and head to Knobel’s between bands of rain.

The parking is free, and admission is free, and Friday Night is bargain night, where a wristband is only $10 so we wanted to try it out regardless of weather.


So around 6pm, we headed out to Knobel’s (the clerk was right, the parking lot really DID fill up completely). Since we had passed signs for Knobel’s on our way into Bloomsburg, we had absolutely no issue finding the park (my directions from the hotel to Knobel’s took us back partially the way we came in). It started to rain pretty hard as we pulled in, so we waited for it to slow to a drizzle and went to stand under a shuttle stop, and then went over to one of the big picnic areas (with tables, and a metal roof). Literally the *moment* we stepped under the picnic area? The sky opened up and it POURED. . like a hurricane.


For about 40 minutes.


I didn’t mind, as I love the rain, and we were dry. What else were we gonna do anyways? Sit in the room? I’d rather have been outside enjoying the heavy storm. But the heavy gushing water shocked the heck out of us – no wonder Knobel’s floods sometimes! Even more shocking / impressive? When it finally did let up? The drains in the park pulled away all the deep water within minutes. Oh sure, still lots of puddles in the parking lot, but the actual park?. . . drained almost immediately.


So after checking the weather on the iPhone, and seeing we had at least two hours before the next wave of rain, into Knobel’s we went. Surprisingly, it wasn’t completely empty, as a lot of folks had also chosen to simply wait out the rain in stores, or under the many picnic pavilions.


We started off on the “carnival” side of the park, coming in by Skloosh, and honestly? I wasn’t impressed. It looked like just a grouping of random rides that you’d see with the Rodeo midway. We stopped and watched a cycle of a few rides (since Knobel’s is known for running long ride cycles) and liked the Whipper and the Bumper Cars. . but I just wasn’t feeling the “magic” of the park. . until we crossed the bridge out of the kiddie section, and came out behind the Old Mill – and I spotted the Haunted House.


I immediately fell in love with the exterior, and made Nick ride it right away (buying ticket booklets from the stand in front).


Once you cross the bridges over the creek, you start to see big structures: the Phoenix rollercoaster, the flume ride, the impressive woodpile that is Flying Turns bobsleds. Even the museums (Carousel, Coal Miner’s, and Knobel’s History) helped, making it feel more like a magical place.


The whole feel of the park changed once we got to that side of it – it felt. . “permanent”, and I really started to love the place.


We watched the famous Knobel’s Carousel for a bit (catch the brass ring!) and then decided to eat something.


First up? the Pierogies. And they were fantastic. Blew Hershey Park’s out of the water. And the Birch Beer (a slightly bitter and sweet Root Beer) was amazing!

That serving was enough for Nick, but I wanted to try some other food at this park that’s known for it’s fantastic food. . and ended up with the only real misfire: Taco Pizza from Cesari’s.

It SOUNDED good, I swear, and the guy next to me in line ordered it too. . but blech. Didn’t finish it.


The fried pickle on the stick made up for it tho J


After eating something, we checked out the Bargain night, and discovered the list of rides *not* included was practically everything we wanted to go on for sure!. . so we decided to just stick with the ticket booths and never bought ride armbands.


It was still fairly dry, so we decided to ride a few things before the rain came back, like Black Diamond (walk on, which it would NOT be the next day), Phoenix (again, a walk on), and one other thing I can’t recall. We were hoping to get on Flying Turns, but it was down after the rain, and they never were able to get it back up, as lines of rain would come before they could get it going again. We also walked around and listed to some of the Carousel Music carts, that were being set up for the weekend festival starting the next day.


We decided we’d hold off on the museums I mentioned until the next day, as it was not only supposed to be beautiful weather, but also packed, due to the Carousel music festival – the parking attendant told us that tomorrow we might have to park by the campground due to expected crowds (so we went early).


As we could actually see the next line of storms coming over the top of the hills, I convinced Nick that instead of trying to beat the rain, we’d just go into the big gift shop across from Phoenix and wait for it to pass. So we did (great prices and a very unique selection of things you don’t often see at Amusement Parks -- reasonably priced T-shirts $10-$12 each!, as well as some beautiful magnets, and other souvenirs while we waited out the rain).


After the rain slowed, we headed out, but not before going into the Fascination Parlor (I wanted to see it), and the “caller” insisted that we play a few games free to learn it. (that bit me the next day, as I fell in love with it and we spent at least an hour playing Fascination on Saturday – I ended up winning enough to get a nice, “cut rock” nightlight to drag home with us). So we headed back to the hotel for sleep and ready to spend full day at the park the next day.


Saturday was absolutely gorgeous, and we decided we’d get to the park by 10:30, since we had been told how busy it was gonna be. After a very light breakfast (I wanted to eat at the park throughout the day!) we headed out and managed to get a spot fairly close to where we had parked the day before (good for finding your car in a “parking field”).


Nothing was open yet, but as Knobel’s is not gated, we went ahead and headed in and started taking pictures – you know, since the sun was out and all.


We headed over to Flying Turns, and it was testing, and the line was relatively short (considering it wasn’t going to open for 15 minutes, so we went ahead and got in line).


It took them quite a while to get it going doing test run after test run, and I think we ended up being in that line for about an hour (at least 50 minutes), so it opened up well after everything else in the park. But what else were we gonna do?. . we’d have to wait in line later anyways (and by the end of the day the line was well over 2 hours long) – so we waited and had some pleasant conversations with the folks around us.


Flying Turns is Knobel’s “new” ride for 2014, since it opened up at the very end of last year after almost 7 years of construction. So EVERYONE wanted to ride it.


My take? It was only “so-so” as a thrill ride, but pretty good as a family ride. They distribute the weight evenly throughout the three car train, so Nick and I ended up getting bumped up to the front car (cool), but even with the weight of the cars getting you way up on the turns (almost 90 degrees), it wasn’t really enough to qualify as a high-thrill ride, and the cars do seem to drag. . going fairly slow.


Was it fun? Yes. Was it worth the hour wait? Iffy. (tho as a walk on, I would give an absolute thumbs up to ride it)..


Since Flying Turns is right next to Phoenix, we took another ride on that (airtime buffet!), and then it was time to eat something.


I had a Crab Cake Sandwich, and mixed fried veggies, while Nick had a Hot Dog, and we both had Birch Beers.


The place was PACKED with all the folks for the Carousel Music festival, and for the most part, they had the carts spread out enough that there wasn’t any sound bleed. Most of them were themed to “Americana” / “Red/White/Blue”. . no real surprise there. . and some had some really cool animatronics. We had a really good time looking at them, tho we didn’t buy any of the CDs that the carts were selling.


Much of the day walking around Knobel’s is a blur, but we really enjoyed the Whipper, Twister rollercoaster was AMAZING (tho not as good as Phoenix) and was running super smooth and fast. We got invited to stand inside Cosmotron while it ran (a Himalaya that runs in a completely dark building with disco lights and loud music. . .very cool, and they didn’t charge us for it – despite sign saying it was 1 ticket to watch). We skipped the Carousel (I know, I know. .we rode them at every other park, and didn’t do the famous one. It was just moving too fast for me to feel safe for Nick to reach for the rings. . so we skipped it here, tho we did go thru the Carousel museum, and I bought a gift for my Sister in Law there).


Atmosphere didn’t look that tall to me (maybe because I’ve been on Supreme Scream at Knott’s). . but it had a line out the wazoo every time we passed by it.


On our way to the Chair Lift ride we went back thru a completely packed kiddie land – the line of folks for the slide surprised me, but it seemd to have a lot of speed on it -- because I was determined to have “Cheese on a Stick”. .three giant deep fried Mozzarella Balls, and only sold in Kiddie Land. And wow. . were they goooooooood. Mmmm.. .salivating just thinking about them.


We also went back to the Bald Eagle Sanctuary area to look at the Eagles, and went thru the Mining, and the Knobel’s museums.


We rode the flume (and got a little wet, and bought a magnet and keychain). . and rode a few other things here and there throughout the day.


Then went to the Old Mill for a Sundae (I got peanut butter swirl, and brickabrittle ice cream with Salty Caramel sauce). . fantastic, but too much for even me to eat!


We took a trip on the train that runs thru the campgrounds along the Crystal Pool, and has the deer-feeders out, but we were just a bit too early, as they hadn’t come out at dusk yet to feed


We also played Fascination for about an hour (as I mentioned earlier) and could have stayed there for even longer, but it was getting late. I was determined that I wanted some candy floss (cotton candy) from Knobel’s, so we took another walk around the park, until we found it and bought a bag of purple/blue that the lady behind the counter said was the color of her gramma’s hair . . heh.


Full, fat, and happy, we headed towards the car, and headed back to the hotel, where we relaxed and repacked things for the morning drive to Philly.


Oh Knobel's !


No you d'int!


coming off the Haunted House ride.. look at that smile.






you can't tell, but less than an hour earlier?. .this place was completely flooded!


storm clouds, but the rain had stopped - for the moment.


one of my favorite flats : 1001 Nachts . . it was closed, I was disappointed.



My, this is a lovely Carousel Music Cart. . where is it sitting?




In line for Flying Turns


In line for Flying Turns


almost there!


aw. .we're on the exit side already? It was fun, but not worth more than a 20 minute or so wait. Nice family ride tho.


Coming in on Sat, the day was beautiful. It wouldn't be this empty for long tho!



great flume, tho wish it were a bit longer.




Whee! (it looks so real)


and it's starting to get crowded


yep. . filling up.


Time to take the Scenic Skyway and get away from the crowds (and off our feet)


Giant Wheel, Crystal Pool, Twister, Atmosfear from the skyway.


I see you Phoenix, peeking up every so stealthily thru the trees


calming. .


on the miniature train headed out to the deer feeders



is it still a "selfie" if I'm sitting in the row behind him?







Score! Kosmo.


3 mascots down!

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Just curious, did the loud car horn and lights at the end of the haunted mansion get you really good too? I just about jumped out of the car both times I rode it.


Nick jumped about 2 feet in the air. . I LOVED it.


I wanted to go again, but he wanted to hold off, and the next day the line was all the way out the queue and we just never got back to it.


awesome old-school dark ride.

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Nice TR!


Were they really waiting for Kennywood's Racer trains to fill completely? I was at Blackpool were they also have a wooden Möbius loop roller coaster and they send them around nearly empty.


Amazed they still have an old Weber Carpet at Knoebels. Most likely spare parts are coming from HUSS today as Weber as a company is long gone. Loved their Traumboot most.


I have heard that some rides at Kennywood and Knoebels refuse single riders. Have any current information on this?

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Otherwise, nice trip report.




well, that's embarassing -- especially since I have it not only in the pictures of the sign, but also on T-shirts, and magnets.


at least we pronounced it correctly the whole time: K-no-bells

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Nice TR!


Were they really waiting for Kennywood's Racer trains to fill completely? I was at Blackpool were they also have a wooden Möbius loop roller coaster and they send them around nearly empty.


Amazed they still have an old Weber Carpet at Knoebels. Most likely spare parts are coming from HUSS today as Weber as a company is long gone. Loved their Traumboot most.


I have heard that some rides at Kennywood and Knoebels refuse single riders. Have any current information on this?


They weren't waiting for it to fill COMPLETELY, but they were waiting for it to fill at least 1/2 way (from what my untrained eye saw).



as to the single rider question?. . I can't recall seeing anyone being turned away, and most things we rode, there were a lot of single riders.


now, there ARE signs all over some rides (the flumes come to mind saying TWO PER SEAT). . . but we rode in individual seats. On stuff like Paratrooper and Scrambler too.


so I think unless we just didn't see it, they dont' really enforce on slow days (I would guess it's more for capacity issues).

Edited by bert425
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Great TRs.


I did a similar itinerary last week with the addition of Dorney and had an absolute blast.


Regarding Skyrush - I love the ride immensely but totally understand its divisiveness. One question - I keep reading people assert that the ride is rough. Do you mean that you find the trains to track poorly and rattle or merely that it is hard to anticipate what comes next and that the ride jostles your body as a result? Just a point of curiosity as I thought the ride was glass smooth on all of my half dozen laps but I can certainly understand the impression that the ride is attempting to eject you....haha.

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Great TRs.


I did a similar itinerary last week with the addition of Dorney and had an absolute blast.


Regarding Skyrush - I love the ride immensely but totally understand its divisiveness. One question - I keep reading people assert that the ride is rough. Do you mean that you find the trains to track poorly and rattle or merely that it is hard to anticipate what comes next and that the ride jostles your body as a result? Just a point of curiosity as I thought the ride was glass smooth on all of my half dozen laps but I can certainly understand the impression that the ride is attempting to eject you....haha.


Dorney is coming up next (well, after a 1/2 day of culture in Philly. . we went to Dorney all day on Monday, then more Culture in Philly on Tues).


as to Skyrush . the first one.


I was toawards the back on a wing, and man, it jiggled, and rattled, and shook the crap out of me.


that, combined with it trying to kill me by bucking me out?


not a "fun" experience!

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Great report so far! Pennsylvania really has some great parks, hopefully we'll get out to Kennywood soon as that's the only one we haven't visited.


LOVED Kennywood.


we agreed it was our favorite park.



With Knoeble's a close 2nd.

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I'm waiting to hear your impressions on Dorney. It always seems like such an underrated park to me. It's no Knoebels, and the coasters aren't world class, but I always have a great time there. (Will be there this Sunday, actually!)

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Great TRs.


I did a similar itinerary last week with the addition of Dorney and had an absolute blast.


Regarding Skyrush - I love the ride immensely but totally understand its divisiveness. One question - I keep reading people assert that the ride is rough. Do you mean that you find the trains to track poorly and rattle or merely that it is hard to anticipate what comes next and that the ride jostles your body as a result? Just a point of curiosity as I thought the ride was glass smooth on all of my half dozen laps but I can certainly understand the impression that the ride is attempting to eject you....haha.


Wings versus the center seats makes ALL the difference. It's not that the ride tracks poorly, it's that the wing seats have less support so they oscillate up and down, especially on the huge turnaround after the first airtime hill. And it seems to be worse this year than last. Not every ride will be exactly the same but many (myself included) have described rides that felt almost like a wooden coaster in how bumpy it was. It's *never* been glass smooth, at least in the wing seats, but the more you ride it and get to know it, the more you notice stuff like rattling.

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I just rode it for the first time myself the other day (deliberating on a trip report, too). I wasn't *that* impressed by it either, although the park was completely dead so I still rode it 15 times (not in a row).


Wing seats certainly are more rough and make the transitions a little more gnarly, but the ejector air wasn't as crazy as El Toro. I did however find that it was more about endurance than enjoyment, and I thought the first drop was actually kind of crap. The last airtime hill before the station was my favorite part—comparable to the EXCELLENT airtime hill on Fahrenheit.

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Count me in the loves skyrush camp too(although it did feel like my thighs were broken by fifth or so lap I took on it). I just love the non stop intensity and insanity of the layout combined with the constant amazing ejector air. I really see how its not for everybody though. It really does feel like the train is really angry with you and is trying the whole ride to get you out of it.

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