We arrived at Hershey right at opening! Like Kentucky Kingdom, Cedar Point employees get free admission to the park!
First up, Thigh Crush…Sky Rush! For our first ride, we went front row. It was running quite sluggish in the morning. So we definitely couldn’t really rank it based on that one ride.
Next was SooperDooperLooper which is basically just The New Revolution at SFMM. Not much to say here.
Next up was Storm Runner, the park’s Intamin Accelerator! The launch was definitely way weaker than Xcelerator or Top Thrill, but the top hat absolutely throws you out of your seat! the rest of the ride was similar to Maverick at Cedar Point. Very whippy with tight inversions! Overall, it’s a fun coaster, but nothing outstanding.
Right next door was Sidewinder, the park’s Vekoma Boomerang. This one uses magnetic brakes in the station and has the newer Vekoma trains. It’s alright. Nothing unique. Just a Boomerang. One of the better ones maybe, but not my favorite standard model Boomerang. Also it made some strange noises going through the loop. Not sure what that was about?
Then we went to Fahrenheit. Before I get into the quick review of the ride, can I just say…wtf are these drive tires that connect to bottom of the wheel assembly on the lift? I’m gonna assume it’s because the double chain lift goes where the normal drive tires would be, but Green Lantern at SFMM has a double chain lift and does not have this. It’s just weird.
Anyway, the ride feels like Intamin’s take on a Eurofighter. The vertical lift and beyond vertical drop definitely feel Eurofighterish. The rest of the ride feels like a B&M floorless. You go cobra rolls and flat spins. The ride pretty much focuses on inversions after the first drop with one airtime hill at the end. B&M floorlesses are one of the weakest model from B&M so I’m not sure why Intamin designed the layout similar to one. It’s fun, but not the best in the park (or even close for that matter).
Then we rode two mouse coasters. Wild Mouse. Typical wild mouse model from Mack. Then Laff Trakk which is a spinning mouse from Maurer. Usually these cloned spinner from Maurer are awful, but this one was really good. Themed and trimmed. The trimming actually made it better, because it went slower through the course allowing the cars to have more time to start spinning fast. Slower coaster=faster spinning! I’ll take it!
Lightning Racer is just a dueling Invadr…meaning it was forceless and pointless. But hey, atleast it races unlike most duel track woodies.
Next was GCI’s first ever coaster…Wildcat! Reminded me of Roar at Discovery Kingdom. I actually enjoyed it. The ride does bounce the entire ride, but it doesn’t really hurt. Granted it may hurt more if were occupied by covering our faces from the downpour that started while we were riding!
We wanted Chickie & Pete’s, but it was a downpouring so we decided to eat the closest place. Dispatch Pizza was pretty good actually. These garlic twists were absolutely amazing! After lunch, we went to park’s weird af dark ride to escape the rain. It was strange, but I enjoyed it. Next year, it’s getting revamped which I’m quite excited for!
A woodie with buzz bars…how can you go wrong! Comet was amazing! Featuring some great airtime with virtually no restraints!
Great Bear was next ride as Sky Rush was being an Intamin. Great Bear is a mid-high tier invert. I’d personally take it over Afterburn at Carowinds. It has such a unique layout as goes through and over other rides, hugs the terrain, and flies over a river! The ending is bit weak, but it kinda has to be as the station is located at the top of the hill and it had to make it back somehow.
Next up was unique Triple Tower! Only Kisses and Hershey was operating today. Kisses is an S&S Double Shot, Reeses is a Space Shot, and Hershey is a Combo Tower with the new gondola designed. Also all towers have new restraints that are way better than the old S&S ones. No more seat belt! No more lifting a 50 pound weight when opening and closing the harnesses! It’s awesome!
Trailblazer…the only Japanese Jet Coaster in the US. Well not really, but it acts like one!
While waiting for Sky Rush, we messed with the test seat. This is the highest position you can leave the restraint! It’s the strictest restraint I’ve ever seen!
Sky Rush still didn’t open, so we went to the kiddie coaster. Got the credit, then got Hershey’s famous King Sized Shakes! Do I even have to review it? It’s just as amazing as it looks!!! It’s a pricey $15, but worth it because it’s Hershey. You’re here for two reasons…Coasters and quality chocolate!
Sky Rush reopened on our way out! So we got three rides on it in the back row! Now it was hauling ass! -2 g’s over those hills is absolutely insane! Easily my #2 steel coaster behind Wicked Cyclone!
Ever since I started GAC, I’ve been told to go to Knoebels ASAP! I never believed anyone that a small family owned park with six coasters would worth a visit…Boy I was wrong!
After getting our ride wristbands, we started off with Impulse, the only modern coaster in the park. It’s a Zierer Tower Coaster. Same model as Wicked at Lagoon, but with a lift instead of a launch. It’s another Eurofighter wannabe, but a lot better than the Intamin version at Hershey! So much hangtime! The lapbars are so amazing too! They pivot like a gimbal so the lapbar is also at the same position on your lap no matter how far down the restraint is. Never seen a restraint like it!
After grabbing the kiddie coaster, we went to Flying Turns, the most unique coaster I think I’ve ever ridden! It’s a wooden bobsled! Not rails coaster sections and the track is all wood! The ride is very Disneyish. Just a seatbelt you tug on while the ride ops visually confirm. The queue and station has some nice signage and themeing. The coaster part is alright, but its more a nostalgic ride than a top tier coaster. I enjoyed it!
Black Diamond is the park’s Dark Coaster. It’s basically the Calico Mine Ride with coaster elements! Really well done!
Time for Twister, the park’s biggest wooden coaster! This ride is lateral central! The lats are like the Beast, but last the entire ride basically! No airtime except for like one or two quick pops. Also the ride has no seatbelts which is weird for PTC trains. Traditional lapbar, but no seatbelt!
Fun Fact, Twister is based of the original design for Mister Twister at the original Elitch Gardens. This design for Mister Twister was never used, so Knoebles built it many years later!
Then it was time for the coaster Knoebels is really known for…Phoenix! It’s basically the exact same layout as Wolverine Wildcat at Michigan’s Adventure, but there’s got messed up because Dinn built it. PTC built this one back in the 40’s at another park. This got relocated later to Knoebles. This ride uses PTC trains with just buzz bars. No seatbelts and no actual lapbar. In that case, the airtime can’t be that crazy right? Wrong! First half is floater, the middle of the ride has a double up and double down which can provide ejector or floater depending on where you sit. Then you end with four back to back to back to back airtime hills with the last one being as strong (if not stronger) than the one super strong hill on Steel Vengeance during it’s six hill finale. Phoenix was the first coaster I thought I was going to die on. There’s no way a coaster like would be built today and there’s no park I know of that still operate something this intense with just buzz bars. Knoebles is absolutely amazing! The fact that this coaster exists in the current state it’s in is incredible! Hitting the brake run I started crying tears of joy as that was by far the BEST COASTER I HAVE EVER RIDDEN! The airtime is unmatched by anything else in the US. Like Sky Rush has stronger airtime. -2 g’s which might possibly be the strongest in the world. But…Phoenix airtime is a lot more intense. Sky Rush you’re locked in tight. Even with a few inches of airtime room, it can’t compare to Phoenix. Phoenix has about a foot of room between your legs and the “restraint”.
This is the restraint on Phoenix! With me somewhat standing up to take the picture. (BTW they have Phoenix car out front of the ride so you can pics in it. This was not done on the ride). Phoenix was perfection! Airtime the entire ride with basically no restraint! It should be any Coaster Enthusiast’s paradise! It has a wooden coaster feel, but not painful rough and just nonstop airtime! It took me atleast five rides to be able to raise my hands! We rode this masterpiece 11 times in about 90 minutes! We did other rides too in that time such as Impulse and a few flats. We also got LROTN on Phoenix where they sent us around for an encore ride, but with the lights off!
Knoebels is the La Feria of the US! Fantastic small park with classic coasters that run incredibly well! Thanks to everyone at Knoebels for an incredible and I can’t wait to come back again! This park was dream come true!