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I'm not sure when they were opened but Knoebels seems to have some new cottages available now, and at least one of them looks really nice.  I know when I did the trip a couple years back, a few people around here had mentioned that they might be interested if the cottages were a little classier inside.  Take a look at the interior pictures for the Conway now.  https://www.knoebels.com/stay/knoebels-cottages

I've got the Glass House booked again later this summer, and I'll be happy to get back, but I admit I'm a bit jealous looking at that one now.  Maybe next time!

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On 6/29/2021 at 6:57 AM, BitterOldHag said:

Knoebels Facebook page said that the Flyers were open once again, as is the Scenic Skyride, so there’s two more rides to add to anyone’s must see list.  😀

We were there on 6/29 and Flyers and Skyride were both closed.  I am guessing that they are using mid week for staff days off.  I would guess that 1/2 the rides were not running.

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  • 2 weeks later...

So I was near Philly for work this past weekend... Finished up in the morning on Saturday and was driving back home to Ohio...  Thought I'd stop in at Knoebels since I was passing right by at open (around noon). It's been a minute since I have been to the park, so it was a perfect time to go and grab a lap on Phoenix, maybe Flying Turns (last time I was there it was still under construction).... Or so I thought. Even if busy, I would just walk around as a pit stop along the way to stretch the legs. 

But by the time I got to the parking lot entrance, it was complete gridlock into the parking lot. Decided to give it a big fat "NOPE!" and just drove on by  to head home (thankfully was traveling opposite direction of most people incoming) and the line stretched bumper-to-bumper a solid mile or two from the entrance with heavy traffic beyond that past Sheetz in Elysburg (about 3.5 miles away). I can't imagine how long it would have taken just to wait in line to park, or how busy it would have been inside the place. I had a ~6.5 hour drive back home (around 5 or so from Knoebels), so I just wanted to get home after making the drive out the day before. 

Oh well, maybe next time... I may be back through in September again, might try again then but I think I might stick to my "skip park visits in 2021" unless it's a park in Orlando 😅

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1 hour ago, njcoasterguy34 said:

Whenever you go to Knoebels, plan to just stay there forever and never ever return to non-Knoebels existence.  There's actually a lot to do and enjoy at the park, even if you just sit down on a bench and people-watch.

Fixed that for ya.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Bad news everyone...I emailed Knoebels about Flying Turns since I'm planning on making a trip out there in a few weeks. I know the ride has been closed due to staffing issues, but I wanted to ask them if it would open at all this season.

Sadly, they state that it is "highly unlikely" that is would be open, and that they are "hopeful the situation improves for next season". Which seems to imply that the ride won't open at all this season, unless things drastically change. Just an FYI for anyone else planning a visit.

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That's very unfortunate. One of the most unique ride on the planet.

But I'm not surprised. Here in Germany, staffing is a real issue at all parks due to COVID.

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Speaking of unique rides, when I made my first visit out to this wonderful park last week, my daughter and I rode the Looper, and that sure was a blast!  Hopefully they can keep it in good working order, since it sounds like it's one of the last operating flats of its type left!

Since I haven't done an actual TR from my brief trip (that ended up being two brief trips) to the park, I thought I'd mention a few of my thoughts in highlight fashion. First of all, much to the chagrin of many of you I'm sure, the nature of my trip was such that I didn't have a full day on either end of it to do Knoebels for a full day, and as such, we had to pick and choose what we did, and focused primarily on coasters for this particular "tasting" of the park. I definitely plan on returning with my kids to the park for a full day, full "Knoebels Experience" in the future, tentatively next year for PPP. So rest assured, just because we didn't do something this trip (such as the Haunted Mansion), doesn't mean that your suggestions went unheeded, but rather it was just the particular dynamics of our visit, and the time we had allotted that kept it out, and it is still on our radar for the future!

So, on our way out to New Jersey to spend some time on the shore with my relatives, we stopped at Knoebels around 4, Wednesday the 14th, for the Sundown admission, and got our wristbands unlimited riding. We had an amazing time at this small, family friendly, and very warm and welcoming park, and look forward to returning again in the future! One of the positive thing to come out of the last year plus, and the pandemic altering plans, has been my kids and I have been going to a bunch of smaller parks like IB, Adventureland, Holiday World, and now Knoebels. We've enjoyed our small park experiences so much, it's kind of spoiled us to the point where going to the bigger parks (like Cedar Point) seems much less attractive now. We had an opportunity to pop back into Knoebels on the way back for about an hour, while we were in the area, and took advantage of it, getting a couple more rides in, and getting some merch we were unable to get the first visit through. So, technically, I left home before my trip never having been to Knoebels, and now I've been twice! Great park, and definitely a place we'll be going to for a much longer period of time to get the full experience in the future!

Thoughts:

Phoenix lived up to expectations, mostly, and ends up as my favorite coaster at the park, barely!  My first ride on it in the back seat didn't give as much air as I expected, but I was riding with my 7 year old, and was cognizant of not fully letting myself go, so as not to freak him out. So that could be why. My second ride, in the front row, was much better, and my third ride, which I've already forgotten where it was (sorry, do I lose my enthusiast card now?) was absolutely awesome, as I was flying out of my seat left and ride, and practically standing on the way back to the station. That final ride cemented the coaster's place as the best in the park, narrowly edging my biggest surprise of the trip.

Twister just doesn't get the attention it deserves I feel, due to the tremendous hype over Phoenix. I do see people mention it as underrated more and more, and I can understand why, as it was REALLY a great coaster! It seemed SO fast, and brought some exciting laterals to the experience, much like The Legend at HW. I don't hesitate to say that I prefer Twister over The Legend, however, and myself, and all my kids were big fans as well. I think my 7 year old may have ended up preferring it even more than Phoenix. It's a very unique coaster, and in addition to the speed and twister elements, it had some great moments of airtime as well, making it a complete, and exciting coaster experience!

Impulse was my 4th of that type of coaster (vertical lift and drop, single car - not talking about manufacturer or specific ride type), and while I really enjoyed it, it's no Monster or Fahrenheit, and I'm not sure if I prefer it or Hydrus more. It's still a great addition to the park, and a fun coaster! One of the fun tidbits from the trip was that my 7 year old was not ready to ride coasters that go upside down when we went to the park last week, and waited off the ride while I rode it with my other three kids. But after a week of being an increasingly brave "coaster kid" (what he calls himself, nothing to do with any group or organization), which included him making Hydrus his first upside down coaster, he wanted to ride Impulse, so we made sure to do so when we returned to the park, and he enjoyed it as well! 

Black Diamond was closed the first visit we were there last week, and we never made it over there the brief time we stopped in on Tuesday this past week. Flying Turns was also down both visits, obviously. The rest of the rides we made it on were great, such as the Flyers, which lived up to expectations, and gave my best ride on that type by far! We also rode Stratosfear, and of course the iconic Bumper Cars, which were super fun, and caused much mayhem!

We didn't eat a lot, but we did seek out and eat from the stand made famous by CoasterBill's photo, getting the fantastic pierogies, as well as the roast beef, plus some birch beer, and chicken fingers. All of the food was excellent, and definitely lived up to the hype! I look forward to trying a number of the other other highly touted food places when we visit next time! 

That's probably enough for now. The bottom line is that myself, and my kids, and more satisfied Knoebels fans now, and we are very grateful to have finally made it out to this wonderful park! Thanks again to all of the many of you who have contributed recommendations over the years regarding this place, as I definitely thought about them as we were there!

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So glad to hear your opinion of Twister. I think it gets overlooked just because Phoenix is there, but Twister is utterly awesome in its own right. I would accept Legend as a point of comparison, but there's really nothing quite like Twister.

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On 7/24/2021 at 7:47 PM, njcoasterguy34 said:

I know it's an unpopular opinion in these parts, but I actually like Twister more than Phoenix.  Phoenix has amazing airtime, but it just doesn't have the speed and laterals that Twister has.

I'm with ya!  All the way.  Those curves.... mmmmm!  The drops aren't half bad either.  And that beautiful curved station and curved brakes with skids(!!!).  Workmanship!  Phoenix is a top 10 for me as well, but this bad boy is higher.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Made my return trip to the park for the 2nd time this summer, and a big reason for that was how much I missed the Flyers. I am happy to see that in true Knoebel's fashion, the ride looks absolutely fantastic with its fresh coat of paint on the supports, and the operator today couldn't have been better, nice long cycles, plenty of snapping, and great banter with the guests as they left the ride. Not sure his name (nor would I disclose it if I did, to protect the innocent) but hat's off to him.

Otherwise not much other developments that haven't already been said, still a good amount of rides closed due to either needing parts or lack of staff, but all the heavy hitters were open (minus Black Diamond and Flying Turns). A sizable thunderstorm did take a good 30-45 minutes away around 6 pm but I waited it out to let the crowd die down and get a few more rides rather than drive home in the rain without getting my money's worth on the wristband.  And while it's nothing that isn't already known, the Phoenix and Twister crews are among the best anywhere with efficient operations, obviously it helps with having minimal restraints to check but you have faster throughput with them running single-train ops than other parks do with 2 or even 3 trains (looking at you Candymonium with your stupid unnecessary hidden seatbelts)

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It's always great to see some Knoebels pictuers. We really miss the opportunity to just go to a car and visit this park. It would be a blast with our kids.

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16 hours ago, adamico2 said:

Does anyone here know if Phoenix Phall Phunfest is happening this year? The webpage appears to have been taken down.

I can't find mention of it either, so my guess would be no, however if you want to be certain, I recommend you email the park.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hey Everyone!

A few weeks ago I managed to escape the coaster desert to the east coast and visited three parks (In case you couldn't tell that's a big deal for me...)! Unfortunately, I've been kinda busy lately so I'm just getting around to the trip reports so there a little old but still good!

The first park we visited (if you haven't already guessed) was Knoebels!! Now, this was my second visit to the park so I knew what to expect but Knoebels seems to be a place that surprises you even when you know what to expect... Last time we came on a weekday, but were forced into a weekend this time around. We got out tickets at a Weis grocery store on the way, which I highly recommend to anyone visiting on a weekend to do. Although (as I feared) the park WAS PACKED, and I mean PACKED with people, this place must have a magic recipe for making people disappear because I don't think I waited more than 15 minutes for anything, and this was with like 10 rides closed! Knoebels operations truly are world class. I was legit worried that the park wouldn't be able to handle the big crowds but handle it they did!

Now on to the pictures (and my thoughts...)!

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First off I'm gonna address the elephant in the room...is Phoenix the best wooden coaster in the world? When I first visited a couple years ago, the answer would have been yes. But since that time I have ridden more rides, and have really refined what (in my mind) should be the best  coaster in the world, and...I don't think Phoenix fits that bill at all. Don't get me wrong, Phoenix is still an amazing ride, but I don't think it should be a "Top Wooden Coaster in the World". Heck I'm not even sure it's the best coaster in the park, but more on that later... For me, while Phoenix's accurately legendary almost semi-scary airtime is great, where the ride suffers is in it's layout. Drop, turn, drop, airtime hill, turn, drop, airtime hill, etc. just doesn't interest me. I've found that I really enjoy unique layouts, and while Phoenix is a good wooden coaster, I wouldn't call it the best simply because I find the layout to be a little on the boring and uninspired side.

Also, is it just me or does the new station look just scream "OVERRATED!!"? I think I really liked the old unassuming station better, but I digress.

All that being said, I do enjoy Phoenix, it is smooth (although admittedly not as smooth as I remember), and it's fun, but not necessarily deserving of the title of the Best Wooden Coaster in the World.

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Next, up is Impulse! Since both Flying Turns (which I knew about) and Black Diamond (Dang it! I LOVE that ride!! Grrrr!!) were closed, I was left to ride the 3D motion simulator...I mean lone large steel roller coaster at the park. I actually skipped Impulse last time due to my enumeration with Phoenix (which is a theme for a certain other ride at this park...what was it called again....???...can't remember now....😜), so this was a new experience for me. And...I'm gonna be honest...this poor ride... Not only does it have to compete against 3 incredible/unique wooden coasters, two good dark rides, fun tasty food, and a bunch of classic or rare flats, it also has THE WORST RESTRAINT THAT I'VE EVER EXPERIENCED ON A ROLLER COASTER...so far...(which by my coaster count isn't saying TOO much). I didn't experience the ride with the old trains, but I was very disappointed with the restraint on the new ones. It kinda felt like someone was pushing a cafeteria tray down on my lap the whole ride. Yeah...not good... It didn't even hurt that much it was just very uncomfortable, and made what I would otherwise consider a fun and unique ride, into something that wasn't very fun at all.

Other than the bad restraint, I thought the ride was fun. It just seems a little bizarrely out of place at a park full of so many unique rides, to have a modern Eurofighter knock off. I almost wish that Knoebels would replace or supplement it with a relocated Schwarzkopf or something along those lines. I think that would be a far better (and more fun) fit for this park.

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Last...but certainly not least...was Twister! Like Impulse, I was so entranced by Phoenix that I didn't give it a try the first time I visited Knoebels...and man I am disappointed I did. THIS RIDE IS FUN!!!! I wouldn't call it the best wooden coaster in the world by any means, but after riding it several times this visit I think I might be in the "Twister is better than Phoenix crowd". And I think that's for the exact reason that I don't think that Phoenix is the best wooden coaster in the world, Twister had a VERY unique layout. From that weird split lift hill, to the slightly awkward transitions, to the random (and noticeably cold) tunnel this thing fits the "unique layout" bill almost perfectly. It doesn't have the amount of airtime that I would prefer, which is mainly why I don't think it's a best in the world or a top 10 necessarily, but it hands down is the best coaster in the park for me!

Also, a night ride on this thing is where it's at! If I ever came on a weekday that the park was open late one, you'd find me lapping night rides on this thing all night long, it's just an incredible night ride hands down!

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Flying Turns (and Black Diamond, BOO!!! If you couldn't tell I love that ride!) were both closed on the days we went, but that was it as far as rides that I would have wanted to ride that were closed. And too be honest, I think Flying Turns is gonna be closed for the rest of this season, it just ain't gonna happen at this point I think.

Some other tidbits...

This was my first time riding the Haunted Mansion...which was good??? (I think) I wouldn't call it my favorite regional park dark ride, in fact I think Black Diamond might actually be better in my opinion. (Which, I can't confirm because it wasn't open! Sorry I'm just bummed that Black Diamond wasn't open.) I realized and enjoy that it's a classic ride, but I don't know, I think it just wasn't quite my style. I was impressed with how well maintained it was, and I enjoyed that they still had many of the classic effects (and a few modern ones) sprinkled in there.

Rode the bumper cars, which were fun, but I think I actually prefer the RDC bumper cars more. The Lusse ones are great, but I just find the RDC one's more fun all around.

Finished on the Pioneer Train, which I thought was cool. I like trains (it's my other passion besides theme/amusement parks), so the journey through the woods was fun, and I enjoyed the uniqueness.

For food: OH MY GOODNESS KNOEBELS FOOD IS SO GOOD!!!!

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We had the pierogi's from the oasis, which I thought were good...but the winner for me is the Boom-Shak-A-Lak burger from the Phoenix Junction Steakhouse. This thing is soo good! I would highly recommend it to everyone who visits the park! It was so good in fact that I copied Coaster Bill (Thanks for the inspiration!) and made a "Boom-Shak-A-Lak Burger Map" so you don't miss it!

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Also had a sundae at the Old Mill, and that was AMAZING!!! Although it also destroyed any desire for me to have ice cream for the rest of the trip...(Cinnamon Bread to the Rescue!)

Also, fun fact...Dick Knoebels has been at the helm of Knoebels for as long as my home park has been around...which is either amazing or embarrassing depending on who you ask...

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All in all I think Knoebels is an amazing park, and if you're anywhere near the area you HAVE to go check it out. Definitely an "A list park" for me, and I can't wait to go again. I don't know when I'll be able to escape the coaster desert to that part of the country again, but something tells me that a Knoebels 100th Anniversary Celebration might give me all the reasons I need. Looking to the future for the park, I know that they have the Bayern Curve (Any word on where that project is at?), but I would personally love to see them either relocate Blue Streak from Conneaut Lake (Because let's face it, at this rate that ride is doomed...) or attempt to resurrect like an old school Virginia Reel coaster, like they did with Flying Turns. Now that would be fun!

Alright, enough about Knoebels. Thanks for reading, I have two more of these reports in the works that I hope to put out soon! See you then!

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  • 2 weeks later...
6 minutes ago, John Peck said:

So what are the best foods to eat there? I like chicken, burgers, pork. NOT a fan of Tacos or anything Spicy.

I'm sure if you scroll, you'll find lots of talks about Knoebels food. .but my top 5:

1) Perogies (from the good stand. . NOT the Round Stand, where they are fried)
2) Cheese on a Stick from Totem Treats
3) Cesari's Pizza (original Slice, not the square)
4) ice Cream from the Old Mill
5) Potato Cake from the Potato Cake stand.

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Hello! Visited for the first since Phoenix Phall Phunfest in 2019. First time in a while camping on property, which made for a super convenient stay.

We opted for tickets not wristbands and including 4 rides on Phoenix and 2 on Twister, the two of used about $90 worth of tickets ($36 each at Weiss prices).

Some notes (good and bad):

1. Phoenix was running awesome. We once and for all determined conclusively that we prefer the 3rd row to front row. Night rides are just something else. Twister was solid as well, though I still give Phoenix a large edge. Skipped Impulse.

2. Food was solid as usual, for the most part. Sweet potato fries with caramel sauce and sea salt were a huge hit. Waffle ice cream sandwich stand was closed, so they served them at The Old Mill and allowed any ice cream to be selected, which worked out well. Cesari's is probably a no go for us next time. Unless we are going to be buying a whole pie... it was lukewarm and very average.

3. This is the biggie. 31/68 rides were closed which seems to be the norm for the season. I recognize they have an astronomical number of rides. I also will note that only about 4 or 5 rides that we were interested in were closed. Flying Turns and Black Diamond being the biggies. I have no idea if increasing wages or offering a $500 bonus would have increased their labor force, but they made a very half-assed effort to attract new workers this year compared to other parks. I don't subscribe to the argument that they cannot afford it the same way Kennywood or Dorney can. In my mind, they must believe they'll have better luck next year with their low wages. This sours me a bit, because I know they're making SOLID profits still. The demand to go to the park seems as strong as ever. So, their overhead is lower with 30% fewer employees. Also, their business model (of offering ride tickets) encourages them to operate more rides. I would have thought it smart to at least rotate attendants on some of the rides. For example, Pire Ship open until 4 PM and Swings open 4-8 PM. A simple sign in front of a few rides (same goes for Kiddieland) would be smart.

4. Extension of 3 is that food lines were unacceptably long on Saturday. They had a large number of food stands entirely closed and others closed without notice pretty early in the day (by like 5:00 PM). We waited 40 minutes for lukewarm Cesari's pizza. Lines spilled out and blocked normal traffic flow, considerably. If they want to operate this way, they should cap admission to the park, because I cannot imagine what it was like on Summer Weekends.

5. Really enjoyed grabbing breakfast at the food court at 8:30 and then heading back to get ready for the day. Solid value and solid food. French toast was great!

6. Flyers were running great as ever. Only got one ride as attendant on Saturday was constantly slowing the motor, so I skipped until Sunday.

7. Campground showers should be upgraded. To charge $60/night and not offer reasonably hot water seems a bit questionable. I know they get by just fine and don't have much incentive to do so, and the convenience cannot be beat.

8. The mini golf is a really fun little course. I will note that the actual holes are all sloped down which seriously eases the game. No complaints as I am pretty poor, but I hadn't noticed that previously.

Overall, did we have a great time? Yeah! We enjoyed everything we rode and most all of the food we had. But we did go back to our site for an hour or so on Saturday out of frustration. Seeing midways packed and many rides not running is a tough pill to swallow.

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