I just got back from a fun visit to one of my favorite parks, Knoebels, and figured I’d post a trip report on here. I mean, I’ve been writing them for myself for a while anyway, so why not share it with others? I hope my meager post count doesn’t hurt matters. This will probably be extremely long, so feel free to skim through if you want.
Rides Closed: Italian Trapeze, Ole Smoky
Enjoy the pictures and comments!
Welcome to Knoebels!
The park's swings were sitting in this pavilion in multiple pieces. Not sure what the deal is here.
Impulse is a good first impression for first-time visitors that is much better than the bumper boats that formerly were here. It was an awesome feeling to be walking back into this place again.
This stand is one of the changes for 2019. Oh, the excitement.
This picture is obligatory for everyone who visits Knoebels.
The world-famous Porky the Paper-Eater! I don't remember that stick before; I later saw a kid shoving it into this thing's mouth with all his might.
The ticket booths were packed, but the lines moved quickly thanks to the typically fast Knoebels service. Since it was a weekday, we both got a POP wristband.
I somehow didn't do the Flyers last time, so I was excited to give them a go, but that chance would have to wait because....
...we needed to get in line for Flying Turns. But wait, the queue isn't open yet.
Empty trains were cycling by.
But on the plus side, we got to stand and watch water be dumped on the chain.
After waiting around for a bit, an employee came out and very kindly told us that it would take 20-30 minutes for the ride to “warm-up.” Oh well, someone must have called off or something. Anyway, Phoenix was right there calling our name!
Once in the station, the shortest line was for row 3, so my dad and I queued up for perhaps the ride’s most infamous seat. Despite operating one train on both woodies (as is usual for weekdays, I assume), the coaster ops were extremely quick; the dispatches throughout the day were usually just over 30 seconds.
On my first visit to Knoebels in 2016, I remembered Phoenix as a fun ride but had no standout memories of the airtime or anything. Boy, did this visit change that! The train glides through the entire layout so smoothly, and the airtime is incredible. The double-up/double-down is my favorite part of the ride, but the air on the return trip is just insane; we were hitting the lap bar with every bunny hop! I had a camera strapped around my neck, and it was hilarious having to catch it at the top of each hill. I probably shouldn’t be surprised, but after reading people's raves about it for years, I had been thinking of Phoenix as “overrated” for a while after my lone ride three years ago. The amazing experience I had this year was truly unprecedented!
The red-orange train was sitting on the side.
Coming into the station; look at all those smiles!
The far turn
The end of the return trip
After this awesome “kick” to what had started out as a so-so day, we boarded the Antique Cars for a trip around and under the Phoenix structure. While waiting to get off, a guy was majorly excited, shouting “woo-hoo!” and “party!” over and over. Well, you’re at Knoebels, so why not get pumped? =) There were over five attendants in the station, which I thought was odd – the oversaturation of ops occurred on a lot of the rides; take the six operators in the Scenic Skyway station, for example.
Just a handful of cars were running early in the day.
There's plenty of awesome Phoenix views to be had on the Antique Cars.
Flying Turns still wasn’t open yet, so my dad and I rejoined the line, which opened a few minutes later.
Some signs tell you about this type of ride's history.
It took 7 years to build, so GET EXCITED.
We waited for about 20 minutes when what else… FT shut down because of some issue. Oh well, we’ll be back.
Gotta love these homemade touches.
Since it was nearing lunchtime, we walked over to the International Food Court to get a bite. I got the “Polish Platter” – haluski, kielbasa, and some potato cakes – along with some Birch Beer, a first for me. I didn’t find it to taste much different than your typical root beer, but later in the day, I got the white variety, which I found to have a much nicer taste. With a bit of sweetness, the potato cakes were also a nice surprise.
CenturyFlyer wrote:Sorry if you glanced that extremely screwed up first version; I guess that can happen to a newbie like me. I know that some of the pictures are still mixed up, and I'm sorry about that.
The second installment in this report will be better designed, I promise!
Nah, it happens to me too since the preview looks fine. I did it earlier this week. You just have to change the attachment numbers.
Let's continue our day at Knoebels! I appreciate the feedback, too.
While my dad was finishing up his lunch, I walked around for a bit in the Mining and Knoebels History Museums. It’s really nice the park has these; there could be gift shops here, but Knoebels is a park that knows how to honor both their own history as well as local heritage.
Hey, is that a Vekoma? :)
I have no idea what this is. But it's very intriguing.
There's a part of an old Ferris Wheel and even an old cage from one of those "Flying Cages" rides.
These old animatronics are fascinating.
Hmm… ever heard of a park in Orlando, Knoebels?
Black Diamond is right next to the museum building, and I was very excited to take a ride. After waiting in just a bit of a line, we boarded a “mine cart” to take a journey through the coal mine theming of this darkride/coaster hyrbrid. It was even better than I remembered it being three years ago! I certainly noticed things that I didn’t see back then – the level of detail throughout the whole attraction is beyond small park level. I honestly think that this ride might be superior to the park’s classic dark attraction, Haunted Mansion, as Black Diamond has a wonderful theme as well as the added fun of the little drops. It’s so, so awesome that Knoebels would see value in resurrecting such an old ride, and in the 2010s, nonetheless!
The very cool and effective vortex tunnel
My dad and I decided to keep the darkride fun going with a ride on what may be my favorite attraction at Knoebels, the Haunted Mansion. After paying the $2.50 up charge (which is apparently to prevent vandalism to the stunts - not really that high of a price, especially considering the quality of this ride), we began our trip. The Haunted Mansion may be one of the best if not the best classic darkride in the country. The stunts are all impeccably timed, with the lights often going out just as something flies out at you, and the use of diversion is also used to an incredible advantage. I’ve been watching videos of the ride for years, so I wasn’t startled, but instead was just able to soak it in and enjoy the style at work here. This ride is a true classic and is not to be missed!
I was also able to take some nice flash pictures (frowned upon?) of the stunts inside. "Welll-come!"
The upside down room, one of the newer tricks.
You can't see this much in the dark. It's fun to see the amount of detail that some of the scenes have! Watch out for what "lives" in that box straight-ahead. ;)
This design on the barrel is new for 2019. It apparently used to rotate, but that was apparently discontinued long ago.
The memorable conclusion: "Oo-ga!" Right after this is one of those water curtains, which shuts off right before the car hits it.
Knoebels has some band organs, and this one isn't even on a carousel. Sitting right across from Phoenix, it was built in 1907 and plays all day, every day the park is open. This is probably why it didn't sound the greatest. Hopefully, it can be tuned soon. However, the two organs on the park's two carousels sounded very nice.
This pic is out of order, but it shows off Knoebels' well-kept-up Paratrooper nicely.
"The World's Largest Baseball Bat?" You be the judge!
Here's the smaller of the two Knoebels carousels. Carved in 1912, it was installed at Knoebels in 1976. The rounding board features lots of murals of local towns and landmarks.
Impulse from a distance... but what's that building in the foreground?
Yes, it's Knoebels' extremely well-known Skooter bumper cars! This is one of my dad’s favorites. After a wait of a cycle or two, we boarded our classic Lusse Auto Skooters.
Major props go to Knoebels for keeping yet another old ride operating in such good condition and with a decent number of operating cars. Heck, a lot of parks with newer bumper cars have half the number of operable cars that Knoebels has! It was certainly a fun ride, but nothing will beat my first experience on this ride when a completely renegade rider decided to drive the opposite direction with plenty of wooing and waving of fists. Good times.
An example of the artistry that these cars posses. They all hit so hard and are really heads and shoulders above any other bumper car ride out there.
On with the Knoebels pictures! Hope this isn't too much for you all. ////
By this time I was again beginning to really grasp why Knoebels is such a great park. The amount of charm it has is unmatched. This fact would be further reaffirmed by our next ride – the park’s carousel, which of course is one of only two left in the country with an operating “brass ring” machine. When the gates are opened, everyone makes a mad dash for the outside horses, and I was just able to get one on this ride, thanks to my dad letting me have his. My ring-grabbing skills need honing, but I was still able to grab an average of about six ringy dingy ding-a-ling dings on my two turns on the machine; terrible, I know. :) It’s beyond me how people can grab more than one ring at once on this. I guess the reason Knoebels can still treat their guests to this amenity is because of the good behavior of the clientele that visits. I mean, at what other park can you pretty much count on for someone to hold every ride's exit gate for you?
ringy dingy ding-a-ling dings aside, the machine itself is wonderfully detailed with lots of little lattice work and murals. Not to be sappy, but when the organ is playing and everyone around you is having a good time, you really realize what an amusement park is all about. (There’re two other organs near the ride in addition to this one; I wonder if they ever play?)
The American flag on Twister is a nice touch.
Things are going to be getting twisty!
But first, let's take a look in one of the observation areas for Flying Turns.
In the area was this car in a box; was is either a prototype that didn’t work out or a car from an old ride?
Here they come! The relative lack of noise that these trains make as they go through the trough is quite remarkable.
The awesome marquee
I think Six Flags should get a load of this; hello originality!
This is very cool.
Here we go! Unlike Phoenix, Twister does not yet have air gates in its station.
On my last visit, Twister was my favorite coaster at Knoebels, but it couldn’t top the awesomeness of Phoenix on this trip. But once again, I think it’s so awesome that the park would pour so much time and money into a recreation of an old ride. Twister’s two lift hills build anticipation, and this is certainly the wood coaster in the park for people into huge drops. After these two drops, though, is when the ride truly comes alive; the huge double helix and twisty turns were fun and a thing that I hadn’t memorized. The only noticeable detraction was some jackhammering around the turn underneath the turn after the first big drop, but besides that, Twister was running great and is still very high on my list of favorite coasters.
As you're walking down the exit ramp, you get a nice view of the helix. Oh yeah, the ride is 20 years old this year, too! I got a cool T-shirt stating the fact. Knoebels as a whole has a huge selection of merchandise, especially when it comes to apparel. There’s lots of stuff that everyone (and especially the park fan) can enjoy.
Okay, my next ride was a first for me – Flyer. How the heck did I not do this on my first visit to this place? I had been preparing for this opportunity for a while, trying to practice my “snapping” skills on other Scooter rides. While waiting in line, it looked like the operator wasn’t really minding what the riders were doing, so that’s that. Once in my car, I noticed how the “sails” were just that – material spread over a framework. I’ve been on flyers at Kings Dominion, Idlewild, and Conneaut, and I’m almost sure that this wasn’t the case at those parks. I could be wrong about that, though. Anyway, this ride completely blew all of those other rides out of the water! It seemed like you could barely move the sail and the tub would start flying all over the place. Again, like Phoenix, I should’ve been expecting this, but the amount of awesomeness Flyer provides was such a surprise to me.
The engine that creates the iconic whirring sound of Flyer
The combination of soaring inches away from tree branches and the thought of “Am I supposed to be doing this?” when my car did a huge jolt really made this a thrilling ride… and I had no idea what the operator thought of me. I would end up taking a second ride later in the night and tried to convince my dad to ride with me, but apparently, he doesn’t ‘do’ spinny rides anymore. What a shame… :)
With Fascination being adjacent, we walked in and used $5.00 worth of tokens. We didn’t win any games, so no lamps or crock pots would be coming home with us on this trip.
I took a ride on Power Surge, which I found to be just okay. I mean, you’re whirling in all kinds of different directions, but there doesn’t seem to be much rhyme or reason to the movement.
All around the park are cool, old vintage touches like this. Nothing too dazzling, but everything has a lot of charm.
Here's another favorite of mine at Knoebels – Satellite, a Roll-O-Plane. These rides are really fun, and I was even legitimately scared a bit of how my cage was making really weird noises and rocking to beyond 90 degrees. The operator also executed a wicked “hold”, in which I was looking straight down at the ground.
What else can I say?
The park's Whip has a very nice shelter.
No. 1 park rule right here, folks.
Taking a step back... where's the Trapeze?
Anyway, Whipper (a first time ride for me) was good but not as fun as Kennywood's, which is larger.
Since we were right next to it, I figured we’d take a journey up and down the mountain on the Scenic Skyway, a must while at Knoebels. At $4 a pop, I think it’s also the park’s most expensive ride. The views on the way back down are really quite incredible.
I love wooden coasters in such a lush setting like this!
Back on ground, we took note of this nice monument.
You might be thinking, "When is this going to end?", but I've still got one, maybe two more installments of pictures comin' your way. ;)
Here we go - I'm finishing up Knoebels pictures in this postI!
My dad and I walked back over to Flying Turns and noticed that that the line was around the 30-minute sign, so we figured heck it, and got in line. We lucked out, as only about halfway through, the ops asked for a group of two riders. Somehow, there weren’t any other groups of two in front of us, so score! Assigned to the back car, I thought it was extremely nice how a station attendant provided “baggage service” – a color-coded bin for your train was literally brought to you. Anyway, we started out on one of the most all-around fun rides out there. The beginning helix was a cool start, and then at the top of the second lift, we began our descent through the ride’s Figure-8 section of curves. It was all a lot more forceful than I remembered it being, as well. Left, right, left, right… weeeeee! A truly unique ride, it was a shame we only got one ride on it that day.
Next up for me was Looper, one of the last-of-its-kind rides in the park. Since single riders aren’t allowed, I was paired up with a pretty nice kid who wanted to spin as much as possible. This ride was very fun, but I can see why it’s not popular with older people. We probably went upside down at least 20 times! You can flip as much or as little as you want to using a foot pedal, though. Of course, it’s all gut energy and teamwork with your partner to get you over the top the first time, but once you get going, the craziness of the flipping really runs wild!
The Knoebels drop tower, Stratos-Fear, is the same ARM model as the one at Waldameer. It provides a really awesome overview of Flying Turns. The drop gives you zero time to anticipate the fall and is always a laugh.
Yet another first-time experience for me was the Giant Flume. There's two drops and a nice wooded setting. Our boat didn't even get hit by the water cannons; don't those things ruin the purpose of flumes? You're not supposed to get drenched! Another all-around fun ride, it makes me miss Kennywood's Log Jammer.
The Carousel Museum is always a treat, especially since it's located in air-conditioned comfort.
Why can’t all parks have a museum of some type?
The Carousel Museum is quite expansive, despite it being in only a small room. There’s everything from classic carousel horses to antique rounding boards.
Derby racer alert! I'm excited that I'll be able to ride one of these for the first time at Cedar Point this summer.
The pioneer train is another Knoebels original that's always a joy. I think we made it on the day before the wreck that occured recently... whew!
Two trains were running.
This might be my favorite amusement park train. Exhibit A: awesome Twister photo opportunities!
Look at all those cross-overs.
Exhibit B: the turnaround... why, you ask?
...well, there's corn that sometimes attracts squirrels! Here's your blurry squirrel picture cred for the day.
On the spur of the moment, my dad and I decided to take a ride on Impulse. (Get it?) After about a 15 minute wait, we got in the front row of this Zierer creation. As said earlier, this ride looks great, but as for the experience itself, it really wasn’t all that fun. It felt like the train was constantly rattling all through the course, which made it hard to enjoy the fun inversions.
Another issue is the stapling of your lap bar into your waist at the bottom of the first drop, making the remainder of the ride very hard to enjoy; I remembered this happening three years ago. It’s great that Knoebels has a thrilling steel coaster, but one ride was certainly enough on this for me.
Another ride on the carousel didn't improve my ring skills much. This is the "lead horse" - the morst ornately carved one.
A look into the structure of one of the weird, rotating refreshment stands that sit near the Haunted Mansion. Yes, this one actually spins!
Fun fact… these three structures are actually old carousel frames. They were purchased by a struggling park looking to add a carousel that was close to Knoebels. That dream never came to be, but when the park’s contents were auctioned off, Knoebels stepped in, and the rest is history!
I won't bore you with descriptions of my re-rides on the park's attractions, but I will give you this nice picture of the Roto-Jet. Love the headlights!
Twister night ride time! I also got some of my first night rides in on Phoenix; one was in the front seat, and they were all absolutely amazing. Climbing, climbing, up my list of favorite coasters.
Time to head out.
Can you guess where this picture was taken?
The Giant Wheel has a nice LED light package.
Thanks for reading. If you read the whole thing (and even if you didn't), I really appreciate it! I didn't want to post pictures of all of the flat rides here, but there's much more at Knoebels than what I showed in this report. My best advice would be to come out and see the park for yourself! It’s a warp back to a time when parks were places where you could go to spontaneously have fun without planning every minute of your day out ahead of time. Some people have a hard time slowing down when visiting parks like this, but if you just give the slower pace a chance, you’ll find yourself really enjoying it.
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