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Photo TR: Canobie Coaster's World Adventures

Gillian's Wonderland Pier- The calm before the Gale Force

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Wait, Canobie Lake Park never has offered a season pass? That's so strange. Definitely a shame for you locals.

 

Yeah it's unfortunate. Since Canobie is finally getting a real water park, I can dream they follow suit and get season passes like the other parks as well. But from the park's perspective, I don't think they need them since they pull good crowds.

 

I loved our trip to Canobie back in 2015. Nothing may significantly stand out like at other parks (though Cannonball and Untamed are both very fun coasters), but the charm of the place is the kicker. I was disappointed when they cancelled that river rapids ride, it looked like it fit the park really well.

 

I definitely would have preferred the river rapids ride myself, but I imagine those funds went towards the water park and they still have the plot to work with on the ride side down the road.

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I made my first trip there a couple weeks ago when I did a full new england trip and I have to say Canobie was the highlight of the trip. I absolutely adored the park.

I also always thought it was pronounced "Can-Oh-Bie" but apparently it's "Can-Uh-Bie" the more you know I guess.

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Awesome report. I really need to make the trip to this park.

 

Thanks! Six Flags definitely beats them in the ride department, but there's just something about the charm of Canobie.

 

I made my first trip there a couple weeks ago when I did a full new england trip and I have to say Canobie was the highlight of the trip. I absolutely adored the park.

I also always thought it was pronounced "Can-Oh-Bie" but apparently it's "Can-Uh-Bie" the more you know I guess.

 

Thanks! Yeah if I didn't grow up around here and hear all the ads, I would have thought it was "Can-O-bee" as well.

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Funtown U.S.A.

 

I’ve always considered getting a Funtown season pass considering it’s just an hour away. However, I always stop myself when I remember their generous twilight ticket. If you arrive after 6 pm, it’s just $13 which is an absolute steal to ride a really good wooden coaster and the world’s best scrambler.

 

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Not sure I'd call it a town, but it sure is fun.

 

World’s best scrambler you might ask? Look no further than the Astrosphere. There are definitely faster scramblers out there, but that’s not what the Astrosphere is about. It’s basically an elaborate lightshow synched up to ELO’s Fire on High. The whole experience is incredible and this 3-4 minute ride even beats some of the night spectaculars out there.

 

This report covers all my visits in 2018, so it’s interesting to note the light show is completely controlled by the ride operator. So no two rides are guaranteed to be the same. One operator had a fetish for the creepy face (if you’ve ridden the ride, you know what I’m talking about) while another operator went absolutely nuts with the lasers turning it into a rave. 10 out of 10

 

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Any ride with ELO gets two thumbs up from me.

 

As awesome as the Astrosphere is, Excalibur is what really put Funtown on the map and keeps me coming back. This coaster epitomizes everything that made CCI great. And the park really knows how to showcase their star since it has an entire themed area dedicated to it. At one point they even sold swords (not the glow swords, but legit metal, medieval replicas).

 

Excalibur is particularly awesome at night since it’s located in the very back of the park in the woods. Outside of the lights from the nearby station and parking lot, the layout is entirely in darkness. The first half is completely out-of-control and has some good pops of airtime, particularly on the steep first drop, speed hill, and two turnarounds.

 

I always criticized the ride’s second half, but I finally get the ride. While I personally would have preferred more airtime hills, the second half’s figure 8 finale boasts some really strong laterals, especially towards the back of the train. On many of my rides, I was bent over the center divider into my girlfriend, leaving no room for the Holy Spirit.

 

Excalibur isn’t perfect though. While I find it tolerable, the ride is pretty bumpy, particularly on the first drop and third hill. The park does stay up to date on their maintenance. The ride never gets any rougher, but the bumpiest spot always seems to shift between seasons depending upon where they retracked. I still think this is my most ridden coaster out there by a good margin. 8 out of 10

 

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Riding off into the Maine woods. You can never be too sure what you'll find there.

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But I know you can find some airtime.

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Excalibur is a treat particularly at night.

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I love how Funtown dedicated an entire area to their star attraction.

 

I also want to note that one of my visits was inadvertently on ACE Day. A few were comparing dick sizes and seeing how many kiddie coasters they had ridden, but most were pretty cool. One of the ACErs unbeknownst to me was one of my coworkers! We have been working together for 3 years and it never came up, so it was quite a shock seeing him walk into Excalibur’s station wearing a Sea Viper T-shirt instead of wearing a polo working on TPS reports.

 

Their only other coaster is your standard Maurer Wild Mouse. It’s relatively unbraked so the laterals during the top section are stronger than usual and the final few hills give hints of airtime. I still can’t believe this is the newest attraction on the ride side since it has been here for quite some time now. 6 out of 10

 

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I find it pretty strange this park lacks a kiddie coaster.

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I think the real wild mouse is Mickey. He appears to be pumping gas atop the kiddie swings.

 

Like Excalibur, Dragon’s Descent also has an elaborate themed area dedicated to it. The dragon archway is a truly impressive sight and it the level of quality is something you’d expect from a Disney park, not a small regional park.

 

The ride itself is the cream of the crop for S&S turbo drops. The view is absolutely incredible if you’re facing the ocean (ride on the side facing the dragon archway) and the drop seems stronger than most S&S towers. You get a strong burst of air and even a solid stomach drop if you stare at the ground. This is definitely the park’s most intense ride. 8 out of 10

 

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Touching a dragon has the same effect as walking under a ladder apparently.

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May the G-force be with you.

 

Another notable attraction is Funtown’s Bumper Cars. The 5 minute cycle is awesome enough, but what really seals the deal is how they’re operated. They have something that they can hang over the head of Knoebels- head on collisions are allowed. Name another park that doesn’t outlaw head-ons. I can’t think of one. The cars are pretty fast too, so you can feel like Ray Lewis as you t-bone other vehicles.

 

The Bumper Cars and Astrosphere really are the two unsung heroes of Funtown. 10 out of 10

 

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There's basically no rules on Funtown's Bumper Cars and that's why they rule.

 

Thunder Falls is a solid log flume as well. Despite occupying a large plot of land, it only has one drop. However, it’s advertised as the tallest flume in New England and I believe it. The plunge isn’t the steepest, but the sheer size of it generates a good head of steam. The splashdown isn’t particularly soaking, but any of the 5-6 water cannons sure. 8 out of 10

 

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First you start off in the woods.

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Then you plunge down the drop and pray no one drops 25 cents.

 

We also rode a few attractions I hadn’t ridden in almost 10 years.

 

Antique Cars- I love how the layout wraps around the Tea Cups and underneath pathways. 8 out of 10

 

Casino- It’s not as good as the newer Wipeouts, but it’s probably the best run Trabant out there. It gives the faintest pops of air and has some decent laterals. 7 out of 10

 

Flying Trapeze- I love how close the ride gets to the trees, but it wasn’t as fast as I remembered. 6 out of 10

 

Tilt-a-Whirl- It’s always luck of the draw, but my ride was a dud for spinning. 5 out of 10

 

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I could have tried driving, but I just sat pack, relaxed, and said "Jesus take the wheel."

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Now this is my type of Casino.

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Unlike Great Escape, Funtown's Flying Trapeze was running.

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Lots of tilting, but not much whirling on my ride.

 

It felt criminal to betray Old Orchard Beach’s Pier Fries and buy Funtown’s but I was starving and they actually looked pretty good. Now they weren’t as good as Pier Fries (few places are to Funtown’s defense), but they weren’t far behind the celebrated Potato Patch fries in terms of quality.

 

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A clever wordplay for the shop name.

 

Also I just want to note that the park has some really awesome signage. The temporarily closed sign is never something you want to see in front of an attraction, but at least Funtown had some fun with it. They showed what an enthusiast looks like when they get stapled.

 

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I sort of wish Dollywood had this sign for Lightning Rod.

 

Funtown really is the perfect park to spend a few hours at. It almost never has any crowds (on the ride side at least) and while they lack the breadth of other parks, they have a top-heavy lineup in Excalibur, Astrosphere, Dragon’s Descent, and the Bumper Cars.

 

Splashtown U.S.A.

 

I know water parks aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but Funtown’s attached water park is quite nice. Funtown has only added 4 new attractions in the past 15 years and 3 of those were water slide complexes. I suspect it was to exercise dominance over the stagnant Aquaboggan down the road and I’m hopeful Palace Playland’s two new coasters this year provoke Funtown to add something on the ride side, but I digress.

 

I think it had been almost 10 years since I had last visited Splashtown, so I started with the slide complex bearing the same name as one of the nation’s most terrifying amusement parks, Mt. Olympus. These slides are now 6 years old and the newest attraction at the park. They include two drop pod slides and one of those popular mat racer slides.

 

We started with the mat racer, Amphitrite’s Challenge. It’s basically a scaled back version of Aquatica’s Taumata Racer. You have a 270 degree twist at the start (instead of a 360 degree twist) and then a single sizable drop at the end. Half the drop was enclosed which sapped some of the thrill, but it was still a fast and smooth slide. 7 out of 10

 

However, I was more interested in the drop pod slides. The first one was Poseidon’s Plunge and consisted of a single drop the whole way down. The drop did seem less steep than the other drop pods out there, but it was still fast and it’s always a thrill having the floor drop out. Most importantly, it was smooth on my back. That’s the one Achilles heel that can cripple these speed slides. 7 out of 10

 

Triton’s Twist had that Achilles heel. It was definitely the more intense of the two, as it had the usual steep plunge and was followed by a ridiculously fast, flat turn where you slide a good 150 degrees up the wall. The only downside is that I could feel every single joint between the slide pieces. 5 out of 10

 

I found out afterwards that Splashtown offers complimentary backboards for these slides. I have never seen any other park do this and it’s absolutely ingenious. I’ll be sure to take advantage of them next time.

 

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Backboards are strongly recommended for the green slide.

 

Up next was the best slide in the park, Tornado. The dispatches were absolutely glacial (they wouldn’t dispatch the next raft until the tube was loaded back in the elevator), so we ended up waiting almost a half hour.

 

You wouldn’t think these funnel slides would have much variety between them, but for whatever reason Splashtown’s has a noticeably tamer drop devoid of the usual frightening pop of air. Still the drop is fast and oscillating in the massive funnel is always disorienting. Also this slide was frigid. I’m pretty sure they siphoned the water straight from Old Orchard Beach. 7 out of 10

 

I also made sure to hit some of the tube slides. Liquid Lightning was the best of the three as it has a cool tunnel through a cave and some really wild turns. We actually flipped over on the final turn as we entered into the pool. 7 out of 10

 

Splish and Splash are the two enclosed slides and they’re just ok. They have some really tight turns, but they never generate any real speed. Prior to riding, I had a front row view of a woman fiercely arguing with the operator that she should be able to use a double tube despite a giant sign saying “Single Tubes Only” with the justification that Six Flags allows it. I think you can guess how that ended. 5 out of 10

 

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There also used to be these two speed slides on this complex, but the lockers now stand in their place.

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A few decades ago, at Playland here in Vancouver, they did exactly that with our scrambler. Enclosed it, and then ran it with

the popular rock music of the time, along with a light show as it ran it's cycle. Great noisy fun. Glad to see it's still being done.

 

Great TR of Funtown USA. And those fries looked very nice, too.

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Great report.... I have to ask though, what the hell is it with this area of the country and indoor scramblers? Canobie, Great Escape, Funtown... I want one in the Midwest!

 

Thanks! Rye Playland and Lake Compounce used to have ones too. Not sure why we have so many, but I'm not complaining! At least the midwest has that awesome indoor wipeout at Worlds of Fun.

 

Not sure when I'll ever get to Maine, but Funtown looks like a neat little park to check out.

 

It's behind SFNE, Canobie, and Lake Compounce, but it does have a nice lineup if you're in the area.

 

A few decades ago, at Playland here in Vancouver, they did exactly that with our scrambler. Enclosed it, and then ran it with

the popular rock music of the time, along with a light show as it ran it's cycle. Great noisy fun. Glad to see it's still being done.

 

Great TR of Funtown USA. And those fries looked very nice, too.

 

Thanks! If you liked those fries, wait until you see the ones from Old Orchard Beach with the Palace Playland report.

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continuing a great report, from another park I'm not too familiar with.

 

went to go look at Excalibur on YouTube, and *of course* Robb has some great video of it

 

See what you mean about it meandering a bit on the 2nd half, but it looks like a really fun coaster:

 

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he also has video of Astrosphere:

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reminds me very much of Cosmotron at Knoebel's. . . although that one is a Himalaya, and we got to ride it to Metallica (the DJ was taking requests and we asked for it while waiting for our cycle)

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Thanks! Yeah the POV and the ride isn't that fast in the second half but it does give more laterals than it appears.

 

I rerode Cosmotron again this year since everyone else raves about it and I didn't remember it being that special. I still found it just ok. I think I'm just spoiled by Astrosphere.

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Great report.... I have to ask though, what the hell is it with this area of the country and indoor scramblers? Canobie, Great Escape, Funtown... I want one in the Midwest!

 

Thanks! Rye Playland and Lake Compounce used to have ones too. Not sure why we have so many, but I'm not complaining! At least the midwest has that awesome indoor wipeout at Worlds of Fun.

 

As one who has operated Valleyfair's Scrambler, I too wish more scramblers were enclosed. The ride's shade structure is a mesh canopy on a stick. Does so little against sun or rain that it might as well not be there.

But yes, Cyclone Sams is awesome.

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^ Yeah sitting on an outdoor, unshaded scrambler on a hot day is pretty miserable. I never realized just how many indoor scramblers the northeast had relative to the rest of the country. Heck SFNE used to have Joker's Wildcard (their version of Cyclone Sam's) but they moved it outdoors I believe due to fire code.

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Palace Playland

 

New England has a proud history of seaside amusement parks. Unfortunately almost none of them have survived. One after another became a casualty to condos. However, not all hope is lost. Despite essentially being no more than a permanent carnival, Palace Playland flamboyantly listens to Destiny Child’s Survivor despite being surrounded by beachfront properties.

 

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I don't know what's more menacing- the clown or the snake.

 

If there were any doubts that they’d also fall victim to condos, Sea Viper is a resounding statement they’re here for the long haul. At the end of the 2017 season, the park retired their aging Galaxi coaster. The ride had operated for 45 years, including almost 25 at Palace Playland, so it had lived a good life. It outlasted all the other Galaxi coasters in New England.

 

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According to their park map, they still have the Galaxi.

 

I sort of suspected they’d just replace it with one of those Interpark Super Cyclones that have been popping up on the fair circuit, but Palace Playland had a more ambitious coaster in mind with Sea Viper. After purchasing some additional property, they erected a coaster almost twice as tall as the Galaxi and it absolutely dominates the boardwalk. It’s especially true at night with the dynamic light package.

 

Now how does it ride? If you’ve been on the Runaway Train at Gillian’s or Python Panique at the Granby Zoo, it’s a larger version of those two rides. I was skeptical how a large Preston coaster would run, but it was surprisingly smooth outside of a few jerks on the first drop. For the most part, it was pretty tame, but the final drop and helix pack quite the punch. I wasn’t expecting the final drop to have the whip it did and it was very reminiscent of those drops on Windstorms. Then the final helix was extremely tight.

 

In my past visits, I had never waited more than 5 minutes for anything. Much to my shock, Sea Viper had a full queue spilling out onto the midway. I ended up waiting almost 15-20 minutes and that’s even more impressive considering the ride has a 24 person train. I’m not saying I liked waiting 20 minutes, but it’s a very encouraging return on investment for the park. 6 out of 10

 

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Sea Viper towers over the midway.

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I wonder if the people in the nearby condos like their new view. I sure would. But then again, I'll never buy a beach front property.

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After years of walking onto everything, I actually had to wait to ride this. I'd say that's a sign the coaster is a hit.

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The final "big" drop packed a punch like the signature drop on a Windstorm.

 

Palace Playland added not one but two coasters in 2018. Next door is the Wipeout, which is seemingly the zillionth SBF spinner to grace the country. These coasters are becoming as common as carousels, but I don’t mind considering they’re a cut above your standard kiddie coaster. Even though I had a car to myself, I had a relatively spin free ride. My car spun at the rate of Time Traveler. Usually Time Traveler is a comparison a spinning coaster wants to receive, but not in this case. 2 out of 10

 

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SSDD- Same SBF, Different Day.

 

Palace Playland has two excellent flats in Adrenalin and Power Surge. The former is one of the most powerful frisbee rides out there. It may lack the size of a giant discovery or the lap bars of “it”, but in my opinion it has the most forceful air of the frisbees. The max swings offer sustained ejector air. The only problem is that there’s only 3-4 max swings, so if you blink, the ride is already over.

 

If you replace the graceful floater of a screamin’ swing with brute ejector air and keep the ride cycle the same length, that’s Adrenalin in a nut shell. 9 out of 10

 

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It's rides like this that'd make you think Palace Playland was a traveling carnival.

 

I personally prefer Power Surge. Palace Playland’s has always been the best one for two reasons- the spinning base always works and the ride cycle is significantly longer. This is one of the most dizzying and disorienting rides out there, especially at night with all the lighting packages of the nearby attractions. 9.5 out of 10

 

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Still the king of the park in my opinion.

 

Does a beachside drop tower sound awesome? The ones in New Jersey sure were. Unfortunately Palace Playland’s isn’t one of those awesome Larson ones or even an S&S tower. Rather it’s a smaller SBF Visa tower. For that reason, the views are nothing special but it does offer something the larger towers don’t- an extended ride cycle.

 

I believe there were 5-6 total drops. None of the drops particularly stood out and in all honesty, I think those mini Moser towers have superior drops. Still it’s enjoyable for what it is, but riding Dragon’s Descent just an hour beforehand sort of ruined it. 4 out of 10

 

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Oh how I so wish this was a Larson tower.

 

Last but not least, I also rode the park’s portable flume, Cascade Falls. When I was younger, I’d marathon this thing for hours. I’m pretty sure my personal record was 2 straight hours. Having ridden countless other flumes, I don’t think that’s something I’d ever do again. The drops are just ok, but the view of the beach is excellent. 4 out of 10

 

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For those who'd rather get wet via hyper-chlorinated water over the Atlantic Ocean, Palace Playland has us covered.

 

If you eat within Palace Playland’s borders, you’re doing it wrong. Adjacent to the park is a wonderland of artery clogging food containing all the usual staples (lobster rolls, pizza, fries, fried dough, ice cream, etc).

 

The highlight is always the Pier French Fries. This place only does French fries and has seemingly been there forever. And it’s for good reason. The crinkle cut fries are that perfect combination of crunchy and greasy. My girlfriend and I shared a box, and then in a return visit the inner fat kid in me got my own box.

 

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When a place only serves one item, it's usually a good sign.

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The brain was the good angel and told me not to eat a whole box. The heart was the bad angel telling me to eat a whole box. The heart wants what the heart wants.

 

In past visits, I always ate at one of the three dueling pizza places on the main road- Lisa’s, Bill’s, or Rocco’s. Admittedly it’s not the best pizza, but all pizza is good pizza (unless it’s Digiorno or Pizza Hut). After leaving the park to get some side shots of Sea Viper, the unmistakable aroma of hot butter and lobster filled the air. My mouth began to water and I ended up at an unassuming place called the Shack.

 

There are two types of lobster rolls in New England- Maine and Connecticut. I’ll probably get shunned for this, but I think the Maine style are gross. I want to savor the hot, juicy meat. I don’t want to drown it in cold mayo, but that’s exactly what the Maine style does. That’s why I was stunned to find a Connecticut style on Maine’s most famous beach and it was probably the best lobster roll I’ve ever had.

 

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The Shack sort of looks like a Six Flags haunt from the outside, but don't be fooled by appearances.

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They make some seriously awesome lobster rolls.

 

Also people watching by Old Orchard Beach is quite the treat on a Saturday night. My personal favorite this year was the woman running down the middle of the street in high heels loudly and proudly yelling her name. Not quite sure what she was trying to do, but it was hard not to laugh.

 

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OOB is a very interesting place at night.

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Lake George Fun

 

Enthusiasts are probably aware of Lake George since it’s home to Great Escape. However, the popular scenic getaway is home to so much more than just the oddest Six Flags park. There’s a beautiful lake. I’d say the name gives it away, but then again there’s a random town in the middle-of-nowhere Pennsylvania called Jersey Shore. Then behind the lake are the Adirondack Mountains and all the nature things you could ever want.

 

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Once you ride the Comet, do yourself a favor and head downtown.

 

There are countless hiking trails and water sports that allow you to appreciate this natural beauty. Or you can experience the sights the American way by boarding a steamboat that travels along the Lake. Guess which one we chose?

 

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Of course we picked the boat. With a name like that, how could we not?

 

There are multiple ships to choose from, but we chose the cheapest, the prestigious Minne Ha Ha. Cheaper isn’t always better as Spirit Airlines taught me, but once we heard the whistle we knew we made a good choice. The journey took about an hour and offered countless views suitable for a postcard (if anyone still uses them).

 

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You probably skipped right by this. Maybe I should have photoshopped in a Wacky Worm.

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We considered parasailing, but it was booked for the weekend.

 

But the highlight of Lake George outside of the Comet is mini golf. You have every single type of course out there. You have the well-landscaped course for those wanting to practice putts relevant in an actual round of golf. You have the cramped indoor courses that should only be played if a storm rolls through. And last but not least, you have the obstacle-based courses that are one part skill and one part luck.

 

My personal favorite is Around the World/USA. The US course takes players on a whirlwind tour of the country; although it seems very biased towards the Northeast. There was only room for 18 holes and yet it seemed like half the holes were from New England or the mid-Atlantic. I was trailing my girlfriend for a majority of the course, but a fortunate spin on the roulette wheel gave me a clutch hole-in-one.

 

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Jules Verne would love this golf course. I call it Around the World in 80 Minutes.

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Why would I ever hit it down an empty green when I can play holes like this?

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Why is Colonel Sanders an attraction?

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Snake eyes.

 

The World course is the more popular of the two. I built a sizable lead on my girlfriend until it all went downhill in China, France, and Australia. No matter how hard I tried, I could not get my ball through the spoke of a rickshaw or Napoleon’s foot. Australia was 100% my fault though. I couldn’t resist the allure of trying to launch the ball into the kangaroo’s pouch. I eventually was successful…but it took me 10 strokes. On the bright side, going through the pouch lets you take 2 strokes off so it was *only* an 8.

 

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My ball did not want to go through that spoke no matter how hard I tried.

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Then the little leader sent me to the pit of misery.

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But at least I got it in the kangaroo's pouch. It turned my 10 into an 8. Dilly dilly!

 

Goony Golf is another awesome course midway between the village and Great Escape. It’s a good thing we weren’t in a rush since there was an annoying group of 10 ahead of us. Having a group double the course allowance was bad enough, but the parents inconsiderately let their kids replay each hole multiple times before advancing. My girlfriend and I were neck and neck, but I butchered the automatic hole in one at the end. I didn’t think it was possible to miss, but I found a way. Shooter McGavin I am not.

 

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I love how unintentionally creepy some of these characters look.

 

The village had some intriguing options such as the Painted Pony rodeo and the House of Frankenstein Wax Museum, but we poked our way in and out of the obligatory tacky souvenir shops and arcades.

 

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I was tempted to follow the painted pony.

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Someday I need to try this. I fully expect it to be awful. But I hope it's so awful that it's entertaining.

 

One of the arcades, Fun-a-rama, has transitioned into a hybrid indoor/outdoor FEC. They still have an impressive arcade blending old and new redemption games, but they also have a few amusement rides now. The carousel, bumper cars, and frog hopper were your usual fare, but I was really intrigued by this odd spinning contraption, Lost in Space.

 

Lost in Space looked like a high speed tilt-a-whirl. I had seen one of these things at the St. Louis Incredible Pizza Company, but the weight restriction was so low that even my 160 pound self wasn’t allowed to ride. There was no such restriction at Fun-a-rama so I curiously forked over $5 for a ride. The platform moved incredibly fast, but the cars seemed to have a gradual and controlled spin a la Time Traveler. It still had some unique laterals, but I really wish I could have experienced this thing at its full potential. Maybe one day it will make it to the German fair circuit. 6 out of 10

 

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I'm far better at this game than mini golf.

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This is pretty much the entirety of the outdoor section minus Lost in Space.

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This ride had so much potential. Please give one to the German carnies.

 

Also if you’re a fan of ice cream, do not miss Martha’s. If you’re the person who never thought there was such a thing as too much ice cream, think again. The large looks like something straight out of Man vs. Food. I’m pretty sure this place has been featured on the Today Show and per my girlfriend (an ice cream connoisseur), it is the best soft serve out there.

 

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If you have a sweet tooth, do not miss Martha's. It's conveniently located across the street from the Great Escape where you'll be anyways if you find yourself int the Lake George area.

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Great Escape

 

Great Escape is the oddest Six Flags park. To start, it’s the only one whose target demographic isn’t basketball dribbling teenagers. Rather this one targets the families that flock to the Lake George region. For that reason, the park has an undeniable charm in places. But then around the corner you’re have a cruel reminder that you’re at a Six Flags park. But you can rest assured knowing you’re at one of the self-proclaimed cleanest and friendliest parks in the area.

 

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This looks like something from Story Land, not Six Flags.

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The lucky pig statue.

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Well it's cleaner than Coney Island, that's for sure.

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I'm guessing they've never been to Canobie.

 

From a coaster perspective, the Comet is the park’s only elite coaster, but it absolutely delivers. And conveniently enough, it’s also the coaster with the shortest wait since it’s the only one that runs multiple trains. It also could be the fact that the Comet is cut-off from the rest of the ride park, as you have to pass through the water park to access the park’s star attraction.

 

Once you hit the first turnaround, every single hill offers airtime. The airtime isn’t the most forceful, but there are 14-15 moments of floater air. Then when you mix in the powerful laterals on the first and final turnarounds, you have a classic coaster that delivers the whole package. It’s truly astounding how well Six Flags maintains this coaster. 9 out of 10

 

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Still one of the better wooden coasters out there.

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The Comet is an airtime buffet.

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I never realized until this visit that the support structure was steel.

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This is pretty representative of the Comet's usual queue.

 

Maybe they funnel all of their maintenance budget to Comet since they had five attractions down on a Sunday in July. The Alpine Bobsled is having a contest with SFNE’s Goliath to see who can run for less days this year. Desperado Plunge and Condor took the Ghost Town theme a little too close to heart and showed no signs of life. Flying Trapeze appeared to be having some work done on the base. And the Extreme Supernova had a cherry picker set up next to the attraction.

 

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Can't say I was surprised the Bobsled was closed.

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I never knew a sunny, 80 degree day with 5mph winds was considered inclement weather.

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Taking the Ghost Town theme a bit too close to heart.

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I can't recall the last time I saw Condor running.

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When I saw the cherry picker, I knew this wasn't going to open.

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12 years later, Nightmare is still closed and standing.

 

Their new for 2018 attraction was Pandemonium, a Chance Freestyle that replaced the park’s Trabant. It broke down the first two times I tried riding, but the third time was a success. I rode the SBF’s take on the attraction at Quassy and found Reverse Time to be intense, but a serious ball buster. Pandemonium was considerably more comfortable.

 

Pandemonium only reached its maximum speed when fully inclined, which made the laterals far more comfortable. If the ride was a hair faster, it probably would have offered some solid airtime. The ride cycle was short, but probably warranted by the sizable queue. Run properly, I think the Freestyles have the potential to be better than the Wipeouts. 7 out of 10

 

I’m really intrigued to see what SFNE does with Cyborg considering it appears to be the same type of ride. I imagine this means the end for Kryptonite, but then again, SFNE is the park that runs two boomerangs right next to each other.

 

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I definitely prefer this over the old Trabant.

 

The park’s best flat is their indoor scrambler, Blizzard. This was originally an awesome indoor scrambler called the Magical Mystery Tour, but Six Flags inexplicably moved it outside for a decade before realizing their mistake and moving it back inside. I’m not sure why they ditched the Magical Mystery Tour name (especially since they play the song during loading), but it’s fun nonetheless.

 

Now I’m spoiled by Funtown’s Astrosphere, so the show sequence of random strobes and lights wasn’t all that impressive. However, the operating speed sure was. This may be the fastest operated scrambler out there. I also couldn’t help but laugh at the operator who was awkwardly fist pumping like he was in a club during the ride. 9 out of 10

 

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It's cool that they put this back indoors.

 

One of the most charming attractions at the park is Alice in Wonderland. The walkthrough has clearly seen better days and is in dire need of a paint job. However, this is one of those attractions that makes the Great Escape unique. You will not find something like this at any other Six Flags park. 5 out of 10

 

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I still can't believe this exists in a Six Flags park.

 

Raging River should be one of the nicest rapids rides around. It has an excellent setting in the woods. However, the effects can be best described as crude. These include a punctured hose, random pipes, and sprinklers. They’re easy to mock, but these effects were far more effective than the rapids. There was also a waterfall, but it hugs the wall so tightly that a raft would be hard pressed to hit it directly. Still it’s impossible to not come off this attraction without a smile considering how unrefined it is. 7 out of 10

 

I had never ridden the Sky Ride and was intrigued to see how it was modified after the girl fell last year. I’m pretty sure the same people who designed the effects for Raging River engineered this modification. The park literally fastened a hollow tube to the lap bar. The park offered some really nice views of the Storybook section of the park, but you’ll have to ride it yourself since the park restricts all photography on the attraction. 6 out of 10

 

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I guess the park got a good deal on metal pipes from Harbor Freight Tools.

 

We also took a spin on the Thunder Alley car ride and the ride basically runs itself. Riders have no gas pedal and the steering wheel doesn’t do much of anything. The only thing riders can control is the horn, but the button only worked 20% of the time. Despite this, I do really enjoy the layout. 6 out of 10

 

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It's refreshing seeing a 50's themed car ride actually working.

 

Due to poor planning, we ended up finishing by Canyon Blaster. This is the park’s newest major coaster (EDIT- Forgot the Larson Loop ). It’s incredible how jerky this coaster is considering how little it actually does. The first half probably has a top speed of 10 mph. The second half has a massive downward helix, but the Arrow coathanger transitions are strong with this one. As I write this, I realized this was the only coaster I rode besides Comet. That says a lot about this park’s coaster collection. 2 out of 10

 

We just barely boarded before close. Upon returning to the station, we were asked how we enjoyed the last ride of the night. I was confused since there was still 15-20 minutes worth of people in the queue. Were they really not going to let those in line board? That’s only something I’ve seen at Indiana Beach. Everyone in line held their ground and after a brief delay they started loading the train again. Oh Six Flags!

 

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If you don't count this helix as a drop, I'm pretty most kiddie coasters have larger drops than Canyon Blaster.

 

As we were walking down the exit ramp, I noticed the Bumper Cars were still accepting riders despite being 5-10 minutes after closing. I was shocked, but I wasn’t going to question it. The park used to have their bumper car arena over in the Fest Area, but a few years ago they moved it into an old arcade in Ghost Town. I absolutely love the ride’s placement in a faux saloon.

 

The odd placement results in one of the weirdest arenas out there. Usually it’s either wide open or has a center divider. This one has 4 random pillars for structural support scattered about the arena. The cars themselves actually hit decently hard, but the cycle was over in a flash. 6 out of 10

 

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I love the ride's placement in this faux saloon.

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I can't think of another arena quite like this.

 

I figured we were on the last ride of the night, but the queue was still open! Even Canyon Blaster’s queue was still open. At this point I got greedy and decided to see if Steamin’ Demon’s queue was still open. There was no chain or barrel blocking the entrance, so we walked right up to the ride platform. There was only one problem. There was no operator in sight. I guess the Steamin’ Demon crew knew closing was at 7 pm. We decided to backtrack to the Bumper Cars hoping they were still miraculously open, but a supervisor was standing guard at the queue.

 

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The ducks take over at closing time.

 

I also spent some time at Splashwater Kingdom. I put this at the end since I know not everyone is a water park fan. Truth be told, my favorite thing at Great Escape outside of Comet is the water park. It’s very underrated. The layout is certainly wonky as it contains 3 separate dead ends with a central hub in the amusement section, but the mix of slides is outstanding. Several of the slides have pretty sizable drops.

 

One of those slides (Banshee Plunge) was unfortunately closed. It’s a deceptive slide since it shares the same platform as two of the slowest and most boring tube slides out there. Meanwhile Banshee Plunge completely forgoes turns and has a massive, steep plunge down the hill. It was a bummer to see it closed, but drops on Tornado and Mega Wedgie (bowl slide) made up for it.

 

Probably the best slide complex is also the newest, the Alpine Freefall tower. Cliffhanger is a drop pod slide with a steeper drop than most; Twisted Racer is a speedy set of mat racers that I almost performed a barrel roll on; and Bonzai Pipelines are two great body slides that manage to be perfectly smooth on the back while executing a series of fast-paced turns.

 

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I still can't believe you have to pass through the water park to reach Comet.

 

But the water park action didn’t stop there. Because we booked the trip so last minute, all my usual budget hotels were either booked or charging ridiculously high rates (on principal I refuse to pay $200 or even half that for a Motel 6). When pricing everything out, the best option turned out to be the Six Flags owned and operated Great Escape Lodge.

 

Hearing about a Six Flags hotel probably sends shivers down your spine. But it’s actually a really nice hotel on par with a Great Escape Lodge. The rooms are huge and the service is far superior to what you receive in the park. Really the only downside is the food. The on-site Johnny Rockets took an hour to get us our food despite there only being one other group there and I’ll never return to the Tall Tales Tavern after they served me cold pizza a few years ago.

 

The primary benefit is the water park. It’s definitely smaller than the Kalahari and Great Wolf Lodge water parks, but it never gets too crowded. I don’t think I’ve ever had to wait more than 5-10 minutes for any slide. The family raft slide and tube slides each have 2-3 tiny dips in complete darkness that give the faintest pops of air. Then the lazy river has some nice rockwork alongside of it.

 

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Even the name (Great Escape Lodge) almost matches the Great Wolf Lodge.

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I'll take this over a pool any day.

 

I strongly recommend the Great Escape Lodge if you’re in the Lake George area. I still can’t believe how well operated this hotel is considering the chain’s pedigree.

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Great report!

 

Honestly, if I walked in to Great Escape and the flume, condor and bobsleds were closed I would probably ride Comet and leave immediately and go to Lake George Village so kudos for sticking it out for a whole day.

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The park’s best flat is their indoor scrambler, Blizzard. This was originally an awesome indoor scrambler called the Magical Mystery Tour, but Six Flags inexplicably moved it outside for a decade before realizing their mistake and moving it back inside. I’m not sure why they ditched the Magical Mystery Tour name (especially since they play the song during loading), but it’s fun nonetheless.

 

Chipper's Magical Mystery Tour closed during the 2004 season. In May 2004, a child died on Rye Playland's Mind Scrambler (indoor scrambler). The child was riding alone and slid under the restraint and was thrown from the ride.

 

My guess is that Six Flags lawyers realized the similarities in the rides and restraints and decided to close Chippers Magical Mystery Tour. Whether is was planned to be temporary (until restraints were modified) or permanent closure, who knows, but it didn't return for years.

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^ Ah thanks for explaining. I didn't visit Playland until 2005 and rode Mind Scrambler. For some reason I thought the accident occurred after my visit since I remember it being closed when I returned a few years later.

 

Edit- I was thinking of the operator that was killed by Mind Scrambler in 2007. I didn't realize it had multiple accidents.

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Knoebels

 

Whenever friends and family ask what my favorite amusement park is, I quickly rattle off well known ones like Disneyland, Busch Gardens, and Cedar Point. But in the same breath, I always say Knoebels. For three years, my girlfriend repeatedly asked what made this random park in the middle of nowhere Pennsylvania so special. I decided it was time to show her so she could understand the wonder of Knoebels.

 

To break up the drive, we made a pit stop at Lake Compounce to get some evening rides on Boulder Dash. After some sluggish rides earlier this year, I’m happy to say the coaster was running like its usual bat-out-of-hell self. This is still one of my favorite wooden coasters out there because of the sustained speed and awesome airtime. We then crashed for the night at an Econo Lodge and were greeted by Econo Duck. I guess they took inspiration from the Big Mike Roadshow.

 

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Boulder Dash was absolutely hauling and well worth the pit stop.

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Operations were temporarily ceased as the operators hunted down a spider.

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This was one lucky duck. He went to Knoebels.

 

I was a bit worried visiting Knoebels on a weekend. For most parks, it would be for crowds. However, I wasn’t worried about crowds since Knoebels has some of the most efficient operations anywhere. Rather it was the lack of a pay-one-price wristband. I was a bit nervous I’d spend a month’s rent reriding Phoenix, but this is probably the only park I can stay all day at and not feel robbed using tickets. It’s an absolute steal that Phoenix costs $3 when local carnivals charge $6-7 per ride on a spinning contraption.

 

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Knoebels is not a financial mistake unlike this Jeep in the parking lot.

 

The weather forecast was bleak (heavy rain and thunderstorms all day), but moved forward anyways. As long as we got one ride on Phoenix, I’d be perfectly content spending the rest of the day stuffing our face with food and playing Fascination. Turns out the weathermen were dead wrong. It rained for a whopping 15 minutes all weekend! I guess the locals knew better since they attended in droves.

 

After cashing in our discount tickets from Weis, we immediately trekked back to Phoenix. I purposefully didn’t tell my girlfriend about Phoenix’s lack of seatbelts. No less than 15 seconds after sitting down in the front row, we were rolling through the pitch black tunnel. She eventually asked where the seatbelt was shocked to learn there wasn’t one. That’s part of what makes Phoenix so special.

 

Phoenix’s progression of airtime hills is flawless. Each hill becomes more intense than the last. The first turnaround offers some fun floater. The same can be said about the following two speed hills. Then the second turnaround kicks it up a notch as it's the first hill where you hit the buzz bar. It’s only a love tap, but you hit the buzz bar nonetheless.

 

Then Phoenix goes absolutely insane. My girlfriend’s shriek of terror was priceless as we both smashed into the buzz bar on the double up, double down. And I assured her there was more to come. The final turnaround also launched us into the buzz bar and then Phoenix’s finale may be my favorite of any coaster. Those four little, unassuming bunny hills violently launch riders straight into the buzz bar. It’s impossible not to come off laughing as you are literally flying a solid foot out of your seat. I just wish they took an on-ride photo at this point so I could see everyone’s reaction.

 

My girlfriend loved Phoenix. She didn’t quite think it topped Lightning Rod or Boulder Dash, but she said it wasn’t far behind. For me, only Lightning Rod and Steel Vengeance can top this Schmeck masterpiece. It’s truly incredible a 70 year old coaster can still rank among the cutting edge creations from RMC and Intamin, but Phoenix is that good. 10 out of 10

 

I also want to note that despite the coaster’s queue stretching onto the midway, the line was usually no more than 10-15 minutes. By mid-afternoon, the line reached an astounding 20 minutes in length, which Knoebels deemed unacceptable and added the second train. I love this park.

 

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I can feel the airtime just looking at this photo.

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I love the random bolt lying on the shed in this photo.

 

Despite the temperatures being in the mid 70s, the humidity was off-the-charts and pushing the heat index into the 90s. That made the Giant Flume an absolute must (granted it would be a must even in 40-50 degree weather). This flume is the whole package.

 

You have a first drop that’s taller than the final drop on many flumes. You have a wonderful setting through the woods. Heck you even pass through a rock cave. But the highlight is the final plunge. It’s pretty darn tall and even gives a tiny pop of air. If you survive the wrath of the geysers, you come off with the perfect wetness. If someone drops mercilessly drops in 25 cents, let’s just say I hope you like water. We were incredibly lucky as one family hogged all the geysers and were targeting their kin. 10 out of 10

 

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I love the Flume's setting.

 

After that, we pretty much got into a rhythm. Ride, food, ride, food, ride, food, etc. After visiting Knoebels solo last year, it was refreshing to have a partner in crime. It allowed us to divide and conquer. We were able to sample so much more!

 

We started off modestly with a burrito from the International Food Court. In all honesty, I was sort of disappointed how it tasted. It was ok, but it wasn’t wow like the rest of the park’s food offerings. It was dirt cheap though.

 

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I love the little graphics with the food stand.

 

At this point we still thought it might rain, so we prioritized Flying Turns. I am completely willing to give the park a pass on this ride’s low capacity considering just how unique this attraction is. I’m just grateful they finally got this thing open. We probably ended up waiting 30-40 minutes, which wasn’t bad considering how busy the park was. Since we were grouped with several small kids, we were guaranteed the front row.

 

It feels like you’re being swallowed alive by the trough since you’re completely enveloped in the all-wooden structure during the ride. The section after the first lift doesn’t do much of anything, but the bit after the second lift is pretty wild. Like Phoenix, the ride gets progressively more intense. Those final turns are wild. It feels as if you’re horizontal with the trough and that you could flip over at any moment. It may not be on the same level as Phoenix or Twister, but it’s truly one-of-a-kind. 7 out of 10

 

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This is directed at all the enthusiasts who used their armchair engineering degrees.

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This is about the only turn you can get a good picture of. Other than that, you're swallowed whole by the structure.

 

Wanting a superior food option, we backtracked to get bacon-on-a-stick. I’ve always been intrigued to try one at local carnivals, but I’ve always been put off by the price. I figured if I were ever going to try it, Knoebels would be the place. It was gloriously greasy and everything I dreamed of.

 

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It's the simple things in life that matter.

 

For the Flyer, I was completely transparent with my girlfriend. My sister rode the Flyer with me a few years ago and thought we were going to die as the tub snapped and buckled with each rotation. For that reason, she will never ride any set of flying scooters with me, even the unsnappable Larson ones. I warned my girlfriend there was a chance she’d see Jesus by the end of the ride and she figured it couldn’t be any worse than Phoenix. I made her eat those words.

 

Once she realized the cables weren’t going to shear in half, she thoroughly enjoyed careening around like a drunken insect. The operator had no qualms with my constant snapping, so I got one of wildest rides yet. The Knoebels Flyer is both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, this is one of the most intense and thrilling rides out there. On the other hand, it has ruined almost all other sets of flying scooters. 10 out of 10

 

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It appears I wasn't the only one snapping. Then again, these things basically snap themselves.

 

Twister is a coaster that has grown on me over the years. I discovered this is absolutely a front seat ride; no other seats give a comparable ride for me. Once you crest the first drop, Twister absolutely hauls. The first turnaround offers some sustained floater more akin to what you’d find on Phoenix. Then Twister forgoes airtime in favor of laterals. The double helix is absolute eye candy and equally as thrilling to ride.

 

Where Twister shines for me though is the finale. Twister is absolutely flying and returns to airtime. There are two little hills with some small air. That’s followed by a pitch black tunnel and two powerful pops of airtime. I’ll take the airtime buffet of Phoenix, but Twister is no slouch. 9 out of 10

 

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Every year, I grow fonder and fonder of Twister.

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I didn't have to wait long for this photo considering the 15 second dispatches.

 

Since it was nearby, I took a whirl on StratosFear. These Larson towers are more terrifying than towers twice their size. The view reminds you just how beautiful a backdrop Knoebels has nestled in the valley, but that tranquility rapidly transitions to crazy floater air as you descend back down to earth. 10 out of 10

 

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That face turned to pure terror about a minute later.

 

My girlfriend witnessed the unmistakably pull of string cheese, so she excitedly asked where she could get one herself. That made our next stop Totem Treats. She went with the legendary cheese-on-a-stick. I had a few bites as there is absolutely no way I could eat one of these by myself. The inside tasted like the best mozzarella stick I’ve ever had, but the breading was a pleasant surprise. It was reminiscent of a corn fritter.

 

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I forgot to take a picture of the cheese-on-a-stick, but here's a picture of the little jet ride across from Totem Treats. There was one kid threatening to shoot everyone as we were standing in line. Can you pick that kid out?

 

After a frustratingly slow drive through Connecticut, the Skooters offered us a chance to unleash our caged up road rage. I thought the cycle was shorter than year’s past, but everything else was as good as I remembered. With how fast and heavy those cars are, there’s nothing more satisfying than t-boning an unsuspecting victim as they round the corner. Similar to the Flyer, the Skooters have ruined the bumper cars at most other parks. 10 out of 10

 

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This is the closest I'll get to Grand Theft Auto in real life.

 

As a dog person, one of the most underrated things about a visit to Knoebels is seeing all the dogs along the midway. However, as we were queuing for the Pioneer Train, I was astounded to see one of my four legged friends boarding as well. I can’t believe Knoebels allows dogs to ride the train! Actually yes I can because Knoebels is just awesome.

 

I had never ridden the train, but gave it a shot after multiple trip reports praised it. The long layout through the woods would be noteworthy on its own, but my favorite part was the squirrel feeding exhibit. At the far end of the ride, Knoebels set up a few stations with grub for our acorn loving creatures. Again this is something Knoebels has absolutely no obligation to do, but they do it just because they’re awesome. 8 out of 10

 

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Does the dog ride for free or need a ticket?

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It's the little touches like this that make Knoebels special.

 

The rain had started, but Impulse was still running so we hopped in line only to find a 15-20 minute wait. By the time we boarded, the skies were clear. Impulse is a fine little steel coaster, but it’s simply overshadowed by the park’s far more unique attractions. That being said, I do try and ride it at least once per visit.

 

The drop delivers some fantastic airtime and is probably the best drop in the park aside from AtmosFear. The ride does rattle pretty consistently, but the lap bar only trains prevent any pain so it’s just a nuisance. If anything, I find it funny that a 70 year old wooden coaster and an aggressive twister are smoother than a 3-4 year old steel coaster. The helices don’t do too much for me, but I do enjoy the hangtime in the loop and barrel roll. 7 out of 10

 

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It's still odd for me seeing a major steel coaster at Knoebels.

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Despite its compact footprint, Impulse packs a lot into the ride.

 

I also made sure to take a spin on Power Surge. These rides seem to be maligned, but I actually really like them. They’re incredibly disorienting. 9 out of 10

 

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This POS from the Pierogi Map was actually open.

 

Power Surge also was a key landmark for me. You see, in past visits I had neglected to try the pierogis. I finally corrected that last year; however, I made a critical mistake. I went to the Round Stand. Granted those pierogis were good, but an angelic choir didn’t sing out as I ate them. I found out after the fact that there was a Pierogi map and I should have been going to the Roast Beef Stand all this time.

 

I now see the error in my ways. Those pierogis are to die for! They’re so buttery, gooey, and delicious. They may be my new favorite food item at Knoebels. Just to be sure, I marched next door to grab some French fries as well. The verdict? It’s a toss-up. The pierogis are probably the best entree, but the fries are perfection in their own way as they’re perfectly salty and crispy.

 

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I finally found the legendary pierogis after 13 years.

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These were every bit as good as people say.

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It's hard to say if I prefer the pierogis or fries, so I'll just get both and deal with the consequences later in life.

 

I followed it up with a ride on 1001 Nachts. The ride has often been down in past visits. Probably too many wild nights with Amy Wolfe (if you don’t know who that is, please do yourself a favor and look her up). Since it was open, I couldn’t pass the opportunity to ride it.

 

The super tight metal lap bars are a stark contrast to the non-restrictive restraints found elsewhere in the park. I could have sworn the ride provided some airtime, but I got nothing this visit. The best part was when the ride would randomly stop at the top for a few seconds so I could take in the spectacular view. 5 out of 10

 

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This is probably the only time I'll ever ride someone's husband.

 

My girlfriend loves carousels, so she was excited to go for the brass ring on the Grand Carousel. She had a little trouble at first since she’s 5’2”, but by the end of the ride she was snatching rings like a pro. I a 100% ring catch rate and a 0% success rate throwing it into the lion’s mouth. It’s rides like this that make Knoebels a mecca for classic amusement park fans. 10 out of 10

 

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I didn't get a brass ring, but I got plenty of others.

 

We decided to take a break from rides and partake in some games. We started with their Mini Golf course. If you read my Lake George report, you know I have an affinity for classic, obstacle based mini golf courses. And that’s exactly what Knoebels has. Their course plays incredibly fast. The greens are the slickest I’ve seen and the stone barriers around the course cause your ball to ricochet like no other.

 

I lost spectacularly as I went off the course a few times, including once into the creek. I particularly liked all the multi-level holes and the fact that the entire course was shaded.

 

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This course played ridiculously fast.

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And it had a ton of obstacles and multi-level holes. Those are my favorite holes even though I often get a 5 or 6.

 

We then went to the Knoebels staple, Fascination. We arrived just in time for Cover All and I created a Fascination addict in my girlfriend. The fast paced and chaotic nature of the game gets your heart racing like the biggest and baddest coasters out there. While we never won, we kept coming close. We could never seem to get that last ball to go where we needed it to. Sounds like mini golf for me.

 

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It's an addiction.

 

After all that exercise (rolling a 1 ounce ball and putting definitely burns some calories), we rewarded ourselves with some Cesari’s Pizza. I’ve always liked Cesari’s, but I’ve never loved it since I’ve always seemed to get an overcooked slice. Not this time. I got a fresh slice that was every bit as good as the acclaimed slices you’ll find in New York City. I think this pizza’s strength is the sauce.

 

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This place is better staffed than most local pizza places.

 

We had a row of dark rides to hit, so we began with the Haunted Mansion. The real show for me would be seeing how my girlfriend would react. She was doing pretty well with all the jump scares until that horn sounded. If you’ve ridden it, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

 

It’s a treat to see a haunted house that’s actually scary and not one of those steaming dumpster fires at a local carnival. Knoebels really maintains this house well and even adds new effects every once and a while. I did notice the Tiki Man on vacation though. I heard his familiar scream at the end, but he never rose from the bushes to greet riders with his presence. 10 out of 10

 

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The house looks so unassuming and that's part of what makes it even creepier.

 

Black Diamond is either one of the most forgettable coasters out there or one of the better dark rides out there. The heavily braked drops offer no thrills, but the ride is fully decked out in mine theming. I do wish the inside was a bit brighter as it’s hard to see everything, but what I have seen looks fantastic. But my favorite effect is the classic vortex tunnel. I’m a sucker for those. 7 out of 10

 

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I'm ready to ride the mystery mystery mine. Whoops wrong park.

 

Last but not least, we hopped aboard the Cosmotron. Maybe it’s because of all the indoor scramblers in New England, but I find Cosmotron a bit overrated. The sum of all the parts is better than most himalayas, but I found the laterals to be decent at best and the lightshow was just ok. 6 out of 10

 

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Astrosphere has spoiled me.

 

With dusk approaching, we took the opportunity to ride the Scenic Skyway. This was another attraction I’ve missed on past visits and I’m glad I corrected that. The ride up the mountain was peaceful, but the ride down was breathtaking. So many of the rides at Knoebels have amazing lighting packages. 9 out of 10

 

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This is probably the last time a Sky Ride will be included in a TR including Lake Compounce.

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I strongly recommend riding near dusk when all the lights are on. It was beautiful.

 

We were both intrigued by the Motor Boats, so we decided to give them a try. Due to painstakingly slow dispatches and a few boats getting stuck, we probably had to wait 20 minutes. I let my girlfriend steer and had a hoot watching her crash into the walls. At first I thought she was doing it intentionally, but then she asked me to steer.

 

For anyone else who has been on these, how the heck do you steer these things? It’s impossible to go straight and the only way to correct yourself is to perform an exaggerated spin of the steering wheel which sends you right towards a wall. I ended up zig zagging the whole way to the station. On the bright side, the ride had some awesome views of the kiddie coaster and I’m pretty sure this ride gives a whole new definition to what a headchopper is. 8 out of 10

 

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Was it just me or are these things impossible to steer?

 

Since it had no line, I couldn’t pass up a chance to ride the Satellite. One look at the ride and my girlfriend knew it wasn’t for her. The laterals on this thing are insane. I slid throughout the entire cabin. I really feel sorry for an adult who rides with a child because I’m pretty sure the kid would get pancaked when the ride travels horizontally. 9 out of 10

 

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I feel so sorry for any child who rides with a grown adult on this thing.

 

Before getting our last rides of the night on the wooden coasters, I also decided to ride the Sky Slide on a whim. It looks pretty unassuming, but it’s a really fast slide since it’s constructed of rollers. My girlfriend and I tried to fit on one mat much to the operator’s delight, but we couldn’t quite fit. 7 out of 10

 

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One of these years, I half expect Knoebels to add the conveyor belt of death from the Oktoberfest version. You know if any US park were to do it, it would be Knoebels.

 

We also made our last food stops of the night. My girlfriend went with an Old Mill oreo sundae. I went with a fried chicken sandwich from the Phoenix Junction. I don’t often hear about this restaurant, but I thought my sandwich was a bigger and better version of Chick-fil-a. Trust me, that’s a big compliment from me considering how much I love that place.

 

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My ice cream loving girlfriend gave this two thumbs way up.

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This was a bigger and better version of Chick-fil-a. Most times a comparison to a Fast Food restaurant is a bad sign, but not with Chick-fil-a. I love that place.

 

Twister at night is an amazing experience. People often mention Beast, Voyage, and Lightning Run as some of the best night rides, but I think Twister is a pretty underrated one. Outside of the double helix, you cannot see anything. That drop is like plunging into a black hole and the finale becomes extra disorienting after the flash from the camera.

 

But the one and only way to end a visit at Knoebels is by marathoning Phoenix. We depleted our stash of tickets riding this thing an extra 4-5 times. All but one of our rides were in the front row and each ride seemed faster and wilder than the last.

 

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I can't end my night any other way at Knoebels.

 

I did also want to ride Over the Top, but unfortunately that ride was yet again closed. How often does this thing even operate?

 

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Do any of these things ever run?

 

I can proudly say that my girlfriend now sees the light and also loves Knoebels. The park truly is the entire package. You have the standout coasters in Phoenix and Twister. And then the supporting cast of dark rides, water rides, and flat rides is second to none. Plus you have the amazing and reasonably priced food and all the fun games. Really I could keep going on and on, but I’ve rambled enough. Knoebels is awesome. Plain and simple.

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