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Knoebels Discussion Thread


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I didn’t quite feel the love for this park in the way that others on this board seem to. It struck me as somewhere between sketchy carnival and flea market with a few rides scattered around. It was a damp day, but that didn’t stop people from showing up in herds. I arrived early and got to watch the park come alive. I spent the 30 minutes or so acclimating myself to the park’s layout, and as soon as tickets were available, I bought a book and headed over to join the Flying Turns line that had started to form.

 

Once the park officially opened, the Flying Turns line was held at a standstill as the ride was running into some problems following the first test runs—issues with the sensor, it seemed. 20 minutes later, the ride still hadn’t opened, but I suspected that it would be the one attraction most susceptible to getting shut down in the rain (apparently rain makes it run slower), so I opted to wait a little longer. 10 mins later, we were told it might take another 45 minutes, so at that point I took off to try out the rest of the rides with the hope of returning later. I did get to ride it eventually, but it was quite a wait at that point.

 

Anyhow, some reviews and thoughts about what I did try out:

 

Phoenix (3 rides): I had read about it and had seen the TPR video with folks getting launched up in the air. I figured that was perhaps exaggerated, but that’s exactly what the ride did. The lack of seatbelt and a high up restraint allowed for some crazy airtime that, on my first ride, felt pretty terrifying, but on subsequent rides, I found to be more hilarious than anything.

 

I was told by another operator that I should ride it in the rain, and that I did. No lines for this one during the day, so I rode three times (front, back, middle). I found it fairly smooth for a ride of its age, and was surprised by how fast it took the unbanked turns. The airtime hills were crazy, starting with the double up/down section and then moving into the consecutive hill section. The front was certainly smoother than the back, but I didn’t really find much of a difference aside from that—it was airtime madness throughout. Overall, a great ride that certainly lived up to its reputation. 9/10.

 

Twister (2 rides): Fascinating layout with impressive visual appeal. The double lift-hill was unique and the first drop was fun, but I found much of the rest to be too brutal and worn down to enjoy. The color of the track and structure suggested that the first drop had been reconstructed at some point, but the rest of the ride could probably benefit from some work, too. Overall, an interesting design with some articulate parts, but it could really use some TLC. 5/10.

 

Haunted Mansion (3 rides): I’m sort of obsessed with these old school dark rides and had been looking forward to this one for a while. I ended up riding it three times, even though I was pretty familiar with the layout and the tricks. I loved it, but it did feel smaller than I’d imagined—quite compact and perhaps even more “old school” than I had expected. Fantastic, though, and far more funny than terrifying. You can tell that the park really cares about authenticity with rides like this. 9/10.

 

Black Diamond (2 rides): See above re: obsession. I was especially curious about the layout of this, and it’s a nice sized ride inside. They really made good use of the space, and the track is spread out economically. Lots of old-school effects that had been perked up a bit without making it feel too Disney or something. Plenty of cheese, but the cheese was well-served. I was quite surprised by the quasi-intimidating downward slopes as, given that the ride is clearly not set up to run like a coaster, there are moments when it feels like it’s about to become one. The drops are braked, but they grab and release which makes the train hurtle down parts of the slope and take the turn at the bottom a little faster than it seems like it should. A great ride that you can tell was restored with love. 9/10.

 

Flying Turns (1 ride): I really rode this for the credit—even though I don’t collect credits. It’s just one of those things that you have to say you did, I guess. As far as rides go, it’s not very good—short, boring, with terrible throughput. As far as structure and technology goes, it’s beautifully anachronistic and a real pleasure. Absolutely worth a ride despite it pulling the biggest line in the park (45 min wait for me), but just don’t expect much from the ride itself. 6/10.

 

Satellite (1 ride): I was planning on heading up to Sylvan Beach later in the week to re-ride their Laffland ride, and I knew they had this one there, but figured I’d try it out while at Knoebels. This was a little more intense and unnerving than I expected with some minor air as it looped over the top of its arc. Once I’d secured myself a bit, not expecting it to be quite as intense as it was, I enjoyed it more. But then it flipped on its side and I found that I had to fight to keep from getting launched into the mesh door. For those who haven’t ridden it, when the rotation shifts to horizontal, the cages still tilt back and forth. So, at one point, you’re in a comfortable, gravity-friendly position, but then it flips you so you’re facing outwards while it spins. That part sucked. Either way, a fun ride that I’m glad I got to take a ride on as I’d learn a couple of days later that Sylvan Beach wasn’t starting its season until late June. A fun, scary piece of machinery that looks more industrial than anything. 7/10.

 

Many of the other rides I watched but didn’t bother getting on. The fliers looked great, but I rode the ones at Hershey and so skipped it at Knoebels even though it looked better. A few other flats looked like they’d be kind of cool too, but I really was there for the coasters and the dark rides, and my attention was spent on them. A nice enough park, but more backwoods than I’d expected. The crowd was “interesting” and, at times, I couldn’t help but feel like some of the more Deliverence-style folks were actually in costumes to add authenticity to the place. Also, I don't eat greasy or fried food in any capacity (which tends to render theme park food out of the question), and here I grabbed a baked potato—nothing special whatsoever. But I suppose they're hardly catering to the more discernible palate. Fun place overall, but not the kind of place I'd return to.

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Awesome report. I'm going there for the first time next week and pretty much only interested in the dark rides and coasters. Well, also the Fascination Parlor which is a slight obsession for me. I was hoping the place would be charming and a little hoaky as I'm dragging my wife there to spend a full day and she doesn't appreciate these kinds of things as I do. The hardest part was finding a nice hotel to stay at for the night...this little segway is sandwiched in between a 5 star hotel in Pittsburgh and then again in Philly. All the hotels seem far from the park and questionable. Looking forward to give the park a spin and very excited for the Black Diamond. I popped into Rye Playland last weekend and what I consider the holy grail of wonderful cheesy dark rides...I hope these measure up.

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that must be the standard for Flying Turns, as we got in line at "open" too, and it was the very last thing that opened in the park. (we were just there on the 14th -- my trip report covers all the Penn parks we hit)

 

we loved Black Diamond, and I thought the Haunted House was grand.

 

too bad you didn't do the Chair Lift or the Whipper -- as those were also standouts at this park (as were the train, the Phoenix, and Twister). I also really enjoyed the Carousel Museum, it's great seeing all the old animals/seats.

 

and the bald Eagles were very cool (if you've never seen live ones before)

 

the biggest shame is that you skipped the food. This park is ALL about the food, and nearly everything was amazing (with majority of it neither greasy or fried). . tho the Fried Cheese on a Stick was the clear winner for us from Knoebel's

 

We made a point of riding the Whip at every park (all 4 we went to had em). . but like you, we also passed on the Flyers, having just ridden them at Hershey, and we too. . don't really "get" the excitement of the ride

Edited by bert425
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Awesome report. I'm going there for the first time next week and pretty much only interested in the dark rides and coasters. Well, also the Fascination Parlor which is a slight obsession for me. I was hoping the place would be charming and a little hoaky as I'm dragging my wife there to spend a full day and she doesn't appreciate these kinds of things as I do. The hardest part was finding a nice hotel to stay at for the night...this little segway is sandwiched in between a 5 star hotel in Pittsburgh and then again in Philly. All the hotels seem far from the park and questionable. Looking forward to give the park a spin and very excited for the Black Diamond. I popped into Rye Playland last weekend and what I consider the holy grail of wonderful cheesy dark rides...I hope these measure up.

 

Comfort Suites in Bloomsburg.

 

seriously.

 

http://www.comfortsuites.com/hotel-bloomsburg-pennsylvania-PA393/Hotel-Photos

 

less than 15 minutes from the park, and very pleasant.

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The fliers looked great, but I rode the ones at Hershey and so skipped it at Knoebels even though it looked better.

 

Not a wise decision.

 

Also, I don't eat greasy or fried food in any capacity (which tends to render theme park food out of the question), and here I grabbed a baked potato—nothing special whatsoever.

 

I found the Bison Burger to be a great healthy option.

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Saying you rode the flyers at Hershey so you didn't bother with the ones at Knoebels is like saying you rode Rolling Thunder so you didn't bother with El Toro.

 

After ride Flying Scooters at Cedar Point this year, now I have a high respect for them and enjoy them. Not everything has to be fast or tall in order to be fun.

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I miss knoebles and need to go back remember a bolt been removed on the flyers so they went crazy high in 2001 then put back for the public ride lol.

 

Stu K

 

ps thanks for tip on comfort inn.

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Saying you rode the flyers at Hershey so you didn't bother with the ones at Knoebels is like saying you rode Rolling Thunder so you didn't bother with El Toro.

That's actually not true for me simply because I really don't care about riding flyers at Hershey or Knoebels. Coasters, on the other hand . . .

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You should give these a chance. If you know how to fly them they can be much more intense and terrifying than any coaster can. Trust me on that. The Hershey flyers are totally different than these because these are faster, the rudder in the front is made out of a similar material to a sailboat so it catches the wind really easily and you have a much wider range of motion so you can make them do things that are just completely nuts.

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ps thanks for tip on comfort inn.

 

very welcome

 

the location left a bit to be desired -- it IS afterall in the parking lot of a strip center with a Lowe's and a Wal*mart. . but the hotel itself was quite pleasant (and the Wal*mart made for an easy "stock up" stop before we headed to the next city).

 

we couldn't bring ourselves to try "Gormet Buffet" located in the strip center.. . LOL. . if they are going to put "Gourmet" in the name of the place? I don't trust it!

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You should give these a chance. If you know how to fly them they can be much more intense and terrifying than any coaster can. Trust me on that. The Hershey flyers are totally different than these because these are faster, the rudder in the front is made out of a similar material to a sailboat so it catches the wind really easily and you have a much wider range of motion so you can make them do things that are just completely nuts.

 

This, the bumper cars and the carousel deserve to be ridden despite their clones being crap in other parks. Knoebels runs these at a whole different level that you won't understand the hype for until you ride it. I made the same mistake of skipping the Flyers my first visit. Rode it my last visit and found it to be one of the best rides in the park.

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I didn’t quite feel the love for this park in the way that others on this board seem to. It struck me as somewhere between sketchy carnival and flea market with a few rides scattered around.

 

And this is the problem when things get over-hyped. I love Knoebels but people talk about it like it's Disneyland and I think they're setting a lot of people like yourself up for disappointment. The two bigger coasters and the haunted mansion are really the things that stand out the most, and those things are what you loved. If that's all you'd expected, you would've come away feeling happy and like you got your money's worth (I mean come on, you got into the park for free). Instead people overhype everything and you come away feeling disappointed, and there's really no reason for it. Are the bumper cars really that much better than every other bumper cars in the world? No. Is the carousel just a normal carousel with the addition of a beautiful band organ and the brass ring game? Yes. Are the flyers really that exciting? I don't know, most people (myself included) can't make them do much more than go up and down and up and down.

 

It's just a small, nicely-run rural amusement park with free admission. I feel like if that's all you'd been expecting you would've enjoyed your visit more, instead of going and feeling like there's something you're not understanding.

 

EDIT: Ok so you didn't like Twister, nobody's perfect.

Edited by neil009
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If you don't get Knoebels at all and you'd prefer a large overpriced corporate park with (usualy) bad food, no unique flats and short, slow ride cycles that's totally fine. Those parks have their advantages to like awesome steel coasters that Knoebels will never have. People like Knoebels because it's a step back in time, it's unique, laid back and every ride they have seems to be run longer and better than it's counterpart at other parks. If that's not your thing then that's totally fine, to each his own but...

 

Are the bumper cars really that much better than every other bumper cars in the world? No.

 

 

Drugs are bad.

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If you don't get Knoebels at all and you'd prefer a large overpriced corporate park with (usualy) bad food, no unique flats and short, slow ride cycles that's totally fine. People like Knoebels because it's a step back in time, it's unique, laid back and every ride they have seems to be run longer and better than it's counterpart at other parks. If that's not your thing then that's totally fine, to each his own but...

 

Are the bumper cars really that much better than every other bumper cars in the world? No.

 

 

Drugs are bad.

 

Knoebels is really all about simple pleasures, but the praise people heap on it is anything but simple. I'm just saying when people talk it up so much I can totally understand why someone traveling a long ways for it might be let down.

 

Bumper cars is bumper cars is bumper cars. Oh boy, they're going *slightly* faster, now I can bump people *slightly* harder. You would have to be doing drugs while riding them to say they're a can't-miss ride.

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Bumper cars is bumper cars is bumper cars.

 

Hahaha, if you want to get reductionist like that, we can do that comparing Haunted Mansion to one trailer Owen dark rides just the same. Calling the Lusse's and carousel "normal" but with only a couple additions gets me rolling, bro.

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Bumper cars is bumper cars is bumper cars.

 

Hahaha, if you want to get reductionist like that, we can do that comparing Haunted Mansion to one trailer Owen dark rides just the same. Calling the Lusse's and carousel "normal" but with only a couple additions gets me rolling, bro.

 

The haunted mansion is a long ride with a large variety of well-maintained uncaged stunts with generally perfect timing. That makes it unique. The bumper cars are a bunch of cars going around in a circle bumping into each other. That makes it pretty much like every other bumper cars.

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Bumper cars is bumper cars is bumper cars.

 

Hahaha, if you want to get reductionist like that, we can do that comparing Haunted Mansion to one trailer Owen dark rides just the same. Calling the Lusse's and carousel "normal" but with only a couple additions gets me rolling, bro.

 

The haunted mansion is a long ride with a large variety of well-maintained uncaged stunts with generally perfect timing. That makes it unique. The bumper cars are a bunch of cars going around in a circle bumping into each other. That makes it pretty much like every other bumper cars.

 

There's plenty of uncaged stunt dark rides. Heck, what separates the Old Mill at the Kansas State Fair from Pirates in the Caribbean? The boats are bigger? The robots have more points of articulation? Reductionism is stupid for serious critique when you take it down that far. The Lusse scooters aren't like other bumper cars. They're much heavier and produced much more pronounced bumping. Comparing them to random fiberglass bodied Bertazzons is fine if you flat out ridiculous unless you don't care about bumper cars. Same with serious discussion of the Grand Carousel vs. its peers.

 

edit: If you're demanding Disneyland and you go to an idealistic version of the traditional American amusement park, of course you're going to be disappointed. It isn't Disneyland. And as much as I love Disneyland, I'm really glad it isn't.

Edited by DirkFunk
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I didn’t quite feel the love for this park in the way that others on this board seem to. It struck me as somewhere between sketchy carnival and flea market with a few rides scattered around.

 

Are you sure that you didn't visit Conneaut Lake instead?

 

And for those that think that Knoebels' bumper cars or flyers are like those at any other theme/amusement park...you must be on drugs to think that.

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I didn’t quite feel the love for this park in the way that others on this board seem to. It struck me as somewhere between sketchy carnival and flea market with a few rides scattered around.

 

I agree that the front area of the park has a distinct carnival feel to it, but in reality it's a big, well-run park with more than 60 rides. Knoebels grows on you as you visit more terrible Six Flags/Cedar Fair parks. They stick to the basics and do them quite well.

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Bumper cars is bumper cars is bumper cars.

 

Hahaha, if you want to get reductionist like that, we can do that comparing Haunted Mansion to one trailer Owen dark rides just the same. Calling the Lusse's and carousel "normal" but with only a couple additions gets me rolling, bro.

 

The haunted mansion is a long ride with a large variety of well-maintained uncaged stunts with generally perfect timing. That makes it unique. The bumper cars are a bunch of cars going around in a circle bumping into each other. That makes it pretty much like every other bumper cars.

 

There's plenty of uncaged stunt dark rides. Heck, what separates the Old Mill at the Kansas State Fair from Pirates in the Caribbean? The boats are bigger? The robots have more points of articulation? Reductionism is stupid for serious critique when you take it down that far. The Lusse scooters aren't like other bumper cars. They're much heavier and produced much more pronounced bumping. Comparing them to random fiberglass bodied Bertazzons is fine if you flat out ridiculous unless you don't care about bumper cars. Same with serious discussion of the Grand Carousel vs. its peers.

 

I understand your points but I think I'm being misunderstood. My intention is not serious critique. No I honestly couldn't care less about bumper cars. Maybe others don't care about dark rides and don't understand the hype surrounding the Haunted Mansion, and that's fine. My point was merely that many of these finer details, like the material the bumper cars are made out of, are things that may get lost on slightly less fanatical park-goers, and therefore their reaction to the park might be less superlative than the, shall we say, connoisseurs such as yourself.

 

Therefor the park gets way overhyped and some people come away vaguely disappointed. That's all.

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I see what you're saying but in the case of the bumper cars this isn't a minor thing nobody would notice. The cars are made out of metal with bumpers that are also made out of metal (they're made out of rubber on every other Bumper car) at all so when you hit someone it really feels and sounds like being in a car accident and sparks fly everywhere.

 

Watch this if you don't believe me... watch it all the way to the end. lol

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fjFyGDTemUg

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My point was merely that many of these finer details, like the material the bumper cars are made out of, are things that may get lost on slightly less fanatical park-goers, and therefore their reaction to the park might be less superlative than the, shall we say, connoisseurs such as yourself.

 

Therefor the park gets way overhyped and some people come away vaguely disappointed. That's all.

 

Anyone who is reading this and has interest in Knoebels probably understands what they're going to. It isn't Disneyland. It isn't Islands of Adventure. If you don't live in Central PA, you go to Knoebels because it is the best existing traditional amusement park, even if it's really a recreation of such a park more than anything. If you're going expecting something appreciably different than that?

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I agree that the front area of the park has a distinct carnival feel to it, but in reality it's a big, well-run park with more than 60 rides. Knoebels grows on you as you visit more terrible Six Flags/Cedar Fair parks. They stick to the basics and do them quite well.

 

That's EXACTLY what I said in my trip report.

 

but the moment we crossed the creek behind the Old Mill, and came out near the Haunted House.

 

fell in love with the park.

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