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Had a /fantastic/ time today, as always. PPP (and Knoebels in general) is always a great time. Props to the flyers ops for letting us get away with murder! They were only slowing it down if you were in danger of colliding your tubs.

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^and....how was your first bacon-on-a-stick? I still can't imagine what it looks like. Haven't seen any pix of this version of it....yet.

 

It was very good! I’m kind squeamish when it comes to gristle and meat in general, but damn that was tasty. In fact, tonight I was trying to locate where they had it in the park. Was it just a special for last night? I know where all the rides are at Knoebels, but not the food.

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Some thoughts on my first PPP. No pictures, but I think there are plenty to go around elsewhere. My girlfriend and I arrived at the park around 2:00 PM on Friday and spent the day exploring the Covered Bridge Festival. An overwhelming (in a good way) number of craft and food vendors. Was really neat how it was all set up (even overflowing throughout the park this year). Had some yummy Iron Kettle Ham and Bean Soup ($3) and grabbed a few other things from the festival. Also enjoyed the pierogies from the proper stand ($5.75/6) and a KFC bowl knockoff ($5.50) (much better than KFC). This was all before the Friday Night preview was to start. The event description had listed "light refreshments" so we filled up a bit too much before the event started only to realize that there was an abundance of food to be had at the event. In the back of my head, I figured "light" was an understatement. This included: round-stand pierogies (fried without butter or onions, still yum but not AS yum), hash browns, bacon-on-a-stick (incredible, but they ran out pretty quickly), hamburgers, hot dogs, candy apples, cake, kettle corn, and roasted corn on the cob. Got practically all of that and scored 7 laps on Phoenix, 2 on Flying Turns, and a quick walkthrough of the mini fun house they brought in for the Halloween Season. Dick Knoebel sang with the band and they auctioned off a bunch of cool stuff with proceeds going to GKTW.

 

So then Saturday. Started our day right with breakfast at the food court. Shared a platter of 2 pancakes, 2 eggs, toast, ham, and home fries for $7, before grabbing our hand stamp and coupon book for the day. This was my first time not using tickets and we kept track of what we rode out of curiosity to see if we would come out on top (accounting for Weis Markets discounted tickets). Rode a bunch of rides we had never really ventured to (Satellite, Whip, Ole Smokey, Loopers) and got re-rides on the Flyers and Skooters. I loved seeing the park all decked out for Halloween. Literally everywhere. A highlight that I didn't capture in time was a lone skeleton riding the Skyway. A really clever little touch. Used my coupon and got our pizza for lunch. We made it a few more hours before craving food again. We shared the pork chop on a stick with mashed potatoes and sauerkraut ($6) which was really yummy. Played some fascination (and won!) and also noticed a really strange happening on the motor boats. Folks were kinda getting stuck in the current and using supports for Kosmo's Kurves as leverage to propel themselves forward. There were multiple boats kinda all bumped together. Later on, we visited a pop up shop right near the Round Stand that was selling soup and picked up a bowl of Chili ($5). Oh my goodness, this was the best chili we have ever had. I can't recommend it enough. Ventured right around the corner and we shared a neapolitan ice cream waffle sandwich ($4). Another new one for us, it was so, so good. Honestly, the food is every bit as much a highlight as the rides every year and it is great to experience new things every time and revisit old favorites like the Sweet Tea Slushes ($2.50) and Pierogies.

 

Phoenix was running better than ever and we experimented across the train, settling in in row 2 and 3 mostly (I still give an edge to row 3. The tunnel was nicely spookified and the ride was hauling. Twister was a bit rough, especially in the back, but still a quality ride. The train ride being all decorated was great and was done in such a charming way. Our night ended with a real highlight, the Haunted Antique Cars. My girlfriend was skeptical because the line was so long at dusk, but we waited it out and returned around 9:30 and got on in 20 minutes or so. This is an incredible experience. There were countless sets and lots of good scares along the way. I honestly felt like I was getting a haunted house level experience but for a fraction of the price. All said and done we rode about $60 in rides for our $42 wristband (plus coupons for food), which is like $48 in discounted ticket books. I can see why the park doesn't normally allow wristbands to be purchased on the weekends, because even if with a lot of Phoenix re-rides and a pretty full day of riding, it is hard to break even.

 

I think this will become our annual visit, because of how wonderful Friday Night was, coupled with the Covered Bridge Festival. Crowds were manageable for rides, in spite of the parking lot being filled to capacity.

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For those of you who have been to Knoebels, you know that 2 train operations on Phoenix or Twister is pretty rare. During Phoenix Phall Phunfest, I got to see the Twister crew transfer on the second train. It turns out a transfer on is done by hand without the help of a computer. The attendants actually push the transfer track into place and then push the 2nd train off the storage track. In fact, the ride does not have a computer system at all (according to the ride attendants). It only features a basic safety system to keep the trains from colliding. Once both trains are on the track, the ride attendants begin cycling the ride empty to establish a consistent cycle time between the two trains. For proper timing, the train in the station is dispatched when the other train is halfway through the rose bowl.

 

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I visit Knoebels at least once a season and I've only ever seen 1 train ops once or twice (one time being last year on Phoenix when they could only run 1 due to the new safety system they were working on). Still super interesting to see how they transfer on Twister. Makes you wonder what the procedure is on Phoenix and if it's similar.

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^Do they usually only run 1 train on Phoenix and Twister? Kind of seems to destroy the fact that they have the fastest operations in North America, with the fact that once the train leaves, you have to wait 1:30 till it gets back and the car reloads

 

More often than not, the park only runs one train. But they really only need to run one train most days due to short lines and the park's fast load times. Watching them run two trains is quite the site, it's like watching a coaster in Roller Coaster Tycoon set to 10 second load times lol

 

I visit Knoebels at least once a season and I've only ever seen 1 train ops once or twice (one time being last year on Phoenix when they could only run 1 due to the new safety system they were working on). Still super interesting to see how they transfer on Twister. Makes you wonder what the procedure is on Phoenix and if it's similar.

 

I know GCI recently rebuilt Phoenix's transfer table and it is all automated now. But I believe in the past, the employees had to push the track as well just like with Twister.

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^Do they usually only run 1 train on Phoenix and Twister? Kind of seems to destroy the fact that they have the fastest operations in North America, with the fact that once the train leaves, you have to wait 1:30 till it gets back and the car reloads

 

When you have 20 second dispatches it doesn't matter.

 

(Skip to 4:23)

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^Do they usually only run 1 train on Phoenix and Twister? Kind of seems to destroy the fact that they have the fastest operations in North America, with the fact that once the train leaves, you have to wait 1:30 till it gets back and the car reloads

Yes, one-train operations are the norm, and they often don't even consider bringing the second train on until the early afternoon at the earliest. I actually prefer one-train operations as it means I can leave my bag on the platform without worrying about someone from the other train taking it.

 

During two-train operations, they release Twister's train 2 when the other train makes it past the first bowl spiral, and for Phoenix, they release train 2 when the other one makes it over the top of the double-up. When you stand in Phoenix's station, you can hear when the train hits the anti-rollback device on the top of the double-up, that's their auditory cue (unless it's automated now). Once the rhythm is established they start revolving those trains like clockwork.

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^Do they usually only run 1 train on Phoenix and Twister? Kind of seems to destroy the fact that they have the fastest operations in North America, with the fact that once the train leaves, you have to wait 1:30 till it gets back and the car reloads

 

When you have 20 second dispatches it doesn't matter.

 

(Skip to 4:23)

 

20 second dispatches . . . Holy Schnikes! That has to be a world record for any coaster!

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I witnessed the rare two-train operation for the first time this past weekend. It is amazing how fast Knoebels gets their trains in and out of the station so quickly. They get trains out so fast, that at first glance you think only one train is running as the station is waiting for the second to even make it to the brake run. Take out seat belts, do away with article bins that cause congestion, and little active enforcement of a loose article policy all make their dispatch times possible. The less restrictive operation policy for operators also helps as it appears their operators have little boundaries when it comes to proper track crossing and sequence of checking restraints. Works great for a smaller operation like Knoebels, but would be absurd to expect in most chain parks.

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Our family had our Fall trip to Knoebels on Saturday. The park was packed and there were some long lines, even for some of the flat rides that don't attract that many people, but that was fine since the operations were great (the line for Phoenix got backed up all the way to the gift shop across the midway and it only took 10-15 minutes) and I mainly focused on smaller rides I haven't tried yet in my 6 prior visits to the park. We got a ton of food, including cesari's, pumpkin ice cream, apple cider slush, and a near-lethal amount of potato with perogies, potato cakes, and fries. The cheap spooky theming was on point of course. Rides:

 

Cosmotron - This was my first time on it. It's one of the small music express rides, but the lights make it pretty fun.

Kozmo's Kurves - Finally got this credit. Quite an aggressive kiddie coaster.

Bumper Cars

Phoenix x 3 - Back car all three times.

Flyers x 2 - I got my most insane rides on it yet. I was in line for my second ride at night, there was a ride op who would slow down the flyers every time, but right before I got on a new operator came in and he let us snap!

Roto-Jets - First time I tried it, and it had really strong lateral forces. Definitely didn't feel like a kiddie ride! Not the most comfortable, but really cool.

Scenic Skyway - Another new-to-me ride I never bothered to try. Not as great as Lake Compounce's ski lift, but I'll take what I can get lol.

Merry Mixer - Also my first time riding this. The cars, rotating arms, and center axis all looked really strange compared to other scramblers. It also wasn't as forceful as a normal scrambler, but there are unexpected lateral forces pushing you to the left in between the whipping motions that push you to the right. It's hard to explain without being on the ride, but it's weird. Does anyone know who made it, or if it's built in-house or what?

Downdraft

StratosFear

Twister x 3 - Second row once, second-to-last row twice, all at night!

 

Can't wait to come back next season.

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^Merry Mixer is a Garbrick Merry Mixer. It's definitely a bit weaker than a Scrambler. Sounds like an awesome visit; I can't imagine skipping some of those rides, but you don't have to do everything at Knoebels in order to have an amazing visit that feels complete. I still haven't ridden some of the flats that I always "figure I will someday," because their top-tier rides and rare classics are more compelling than some of their generic ones.

 

...During Phoenix Phall Phunfest, I got to see the Twister crew transfer on the second train....

Gotta love old-school train transfers. It's always a treat to see something like that in person.

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

Fun fact, the last time that stretch of Phoenix was re-tracked was in 2010. How many wooden coasters have gone without re-tracking for decades? Here's Knoebels - it seems like they do a section during each off-season so it's always somewhat fresh.

 

Here's a photo I took in the middle of the summer season, 2010:

 

35210_143025392374838_7043191_n.jpg?oh=f40c8521584045ad3d80035ff5880deb&oe=5AD76BAB

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As often as their carpenters re-track this ride I doubt they even need to look at blueprints anymore.

 

I often doubted people when they said Phoenix was worth the trip alone. I made my first pilgrimage in 2015, needless to say this coaster instantly became one of my favorites rides I've ever ridden and now Knoebel's is a once a year park for me.

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  • 3 weeks later...
As often as their carpenters re-track this ride I doubt they even need to look at blueprints anymore.

 

I often doubted people when they said Phoenix was worth the trip alone. I made my first pilgrimage in 2015, needless to say this coaster instantly became one of my favorites rides I've ever ridden and now Knoebel's is a once a year park for me.

 

Do they even have blueprints for the ride? I don't remember...

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