Impression of Knoebel's (7/26/02 trip)


DIS Veteran
Aug 20, 1999
From 7/21/02 to 7/29/02, I decided to do a coaster invasion of some northeastern states. My stops were:

7/21 Fly in
7/22 Morey’s Piers
7/23 Six Flags Great Adventure
7/24 Six Flags America
7/25 Hersheypark
7/26 Knoebel’s
7/27 Dorney Park and Barb Con
7/28 Dorney Park
7/29 Fly out

July 26 was a visit to Knoebel’s. I had heard a lot of good things about the park. The best things that I’ve heard was that it was affordable and had free parking. I really keyed into the free parking. I was getting tired of paying $9-$10 at the Six Flags parks.

I drove from Harrisburg to Elysburg. The drive was about 2 ½ hours. I drove through miles of trees and farmlands. They weren’t kidding – Knoebel’s is really in the middle of nowhere! I arrived at 9:30 am. The park opened at 11 am, so I got a chance to walk around while very few people were around.

Knoebel’s has a campground feel since trees are everywhere. It’s like someone stuck an amusement park in a campground. Most things felt like I was at Camp Winnepaka again. The signage seemed had a campground feel. The bathrooms even felt like they were like communal campground (with water fountains outside the bathrooms!). It was a very different feel to the other parks that I visited earlier in the week.

I had a $3 off coupon for an armband (graciously sent by Cindy B) and I opted for the basic plus wood coaster option (of course!). With my $3 off coupon, the cost of an armband was $24.75.

It rained a little bit before 11 am, but no more drops fell from the sky for the rest of the day. I’m glad nature got the rain out of her!

I headed to the Twister first and worked my way out from there. I headed to the Whirlwind, the Phoenix, and did some flat rides on the way to the High Speed Thrill Coaster. Then I did more rides on the coasters and some other flat rides and shows. I stayed at the park until around 8 pm.

So here are my impressions of the rides…


A lot of people name this twister wooden coaster as a top 10 ride. I’m not sure why. My dislike of twister wooden coasters grew with this ride. It was pretty rough. The ride beat me up really good! The good thing about this coaster and the other wooden coaster, the Phoenix, is that the restraints are lapbars only. There are no seatbelts. If you click the lapbar just enough, you can get some good airtime. Still, I rode it five times. They were running pretty much one train all day. My wait was no more than 15 minutes for each ride.


This was a looping steel coaster. I didn’t think it was a bad ride. It had a few inversions and loops, but it was too short. By the time I got into the ride, the coaster hit the end brakes and was done! I rode it four times nonetheless. My first three rides were pretty smooth. On my last ride, my head kept on banging against the restraints! I waited a few minutes for each of my rides. The coaster was on a one-train rotation.


The Phoenix was an out and back wooden coaster. My love for out and backs grew with this coaster. It is pretty smooth and had some great airtime. I think I had to wait at least 15 minutes for each of my six rides. They were running only one train. I’m not sure why they couldn’t run more. Sure, the wait wasn’t too long, but throughput could have been improved greatly with another train.


I’m ashamed to admit it – I rode this one for the credit. This steel coaster had a small drop and a few small hills. It was neither high speed nor thrilling. I bet that when it was installed 40 or so years ago, it must have been the Millennium Force of its day. Now it’s a nice kiddie ride. I waited about 10 minutes for my one and only ride.

Now onto some of the flat rides…


I rode this one because of a Knoebel’s scene from Robb Alvey’s Coaster Season 2001. It went like this:

Elissa: “Derek, why are you so sad?”

Derek: “Because the Flyers sucked!”

Indeed, the Flyers did. You could move your rudder back and forth to pilot your route, but the flyer didn’t move very far. Also, when the ride stopped, the flyer kept on moving, so I had a hard time getting my feet on the ground. The Flyers must be an old ride. I could hear the generator running and rust was on some of the supports. I only waited a few minutes for this one.


The Haunted House cost me an extra $1 because it was not included in the armband. I had heard a lot of good things about this house. I thought it was pretty scary. I became a chicken and closed my eyes during some parts. It got a bit intense for me. Then again, I’m not a big fan of haunted houses. I rode Millennium Force and Wicked Twister many times at Cedar Point, but haunted houses? No, thank you! I had to ride it, though, with all the good things I’ve heard about it. It isn’t as nice-looking as Disney’s Haunted Mansion, but it is much scarier. The odd thing about Knoebel’s Haunted House was that there was a forest scene with stereotypical natives. I know that I stepped into a Victorian-looking house. How did I get to Africa all of a sudden?


I rode the Carousel because of its history. I was also trying to catch the brass ring, which I couldn’t. After the slide incident at Morey’s Piers, I wasn’t about to lean out too far for a free ride. I got unlimited rides with my armband anyway! I waited a few minutes for this fun ride.


Tim O’Brien, author of “The Amusement Park Guide,” called Knoebel’s Bumper Cars the best in America. I rode them once and they are very fun. You drove them one way in a circular path. The bumper cars were pretty fast and I could bump into people really well. Some people did collisions that were worth of “World’s Scariest Police Chases!” I had a lot of fun pushing the sides of other people’s cars and trapping them against the wall. I was an excellent driver in the bumper cars since I avoided collisions most of the time. I waited about 5 minutes for a ride.


I had to ride another Whip ride. This one seemed older than the one at Hersheypark, but was just as fun. The ride op ran a bell to start the ride and ran it again to signal that it was safe to leave the ride. I hoped that no one would jump up and start boxing when he rang the bell! I waited 5 minutes for a ride.

I also saw a magic show. I forgot the name of the magician, but he did an excellent end trick called Metamorphosis. It left me wondering, “How’d he do that?” I also watched a brass band play some oldies. Two performers even waved to my video camera!

Food was pretty reasonably priced. I ate at the International Food Court. I had a hamburger combo. It included a hamburger with lettuce and tomato, fries, cole slaw, and a drink for around $7.50. After being soaked for food at Six Flags, it was refreshing to pay under $10 for a meal. One place was advertising a Friday night all you can eat fish fry for $6.95, but I passed on it. Fried foods tend to make me sick.

Knoebel’s is an affordable park to visit. Out of curiosity, I found out the cost of each ride that I went on and added it up. If I just used tickets, the cost of what I rode would have been near $30. Even without the coupon, I would have come out ahead. I even considered what I rode a full day! Imagine if I had rode a lot more. I would have come out even further ahead.

One odd thing I noticed was the signal the ride ops used to say the coaster was ready to run. They did the “a-ok” symbol with their fingers. That was surprising, since some cultures would consider that akin to us sticking out the middle finger! I suppose Knoebel’s doesn’t attract world travelers like Disney does. In fact, I think I was the only one from Florida in the whole park! I think most people came from Pennsylvania or the surrounding states. Who else but coaster riders would travel so far for coasters?

Quite a few of the Knoebel’s employees looked very young. I saw a lot of 13 and 14 year old girls. I think this was the youngest faces that I’ve ever seen at a park. I don’t know what other job a 13 year old can get in Elysburg. I think they’re too young for mining!

I really enjoyed Knoebel’s and I would definitely visit it again.

I checked into a hotel in Danville, which was about 30 minutes away. I checked into a Red Roof Inn, which seemed to be the cheapest at $43 a night. The front desk clerk was able to find my reservation without problems. The unusual thing was that the clerk looked like Dan Murphy! He even sounded like him! However, he was nowhere as nice as Dan Murphy.

I seemed to stay at a lot of Red Roof Inns. Out of my hotel searches, they were the cheapest. I had no complaints about the room. The Danville Red Roof Inn had a bunch of guys and girls upstairs having a party. I guess they were shooting “Girls Gone Wild at the Red Roof Inn” in their room. Yet, even with the party, I never heard any loud noises and slept very soundly. The only bad part about the Red Roof Inns was that one room had a toilet that made weird hissing sounds every 20 minutes. I did not see a snake in the bowl, though.

Tomorrow: Dorney Park and Barb Con
Knoebel's! Wow, are you bringing back memories of when I was 10 and younger. My grandparents live(d) in PA. My dad took us to Knoebel's every time we visited (providing the weather was okay.) It was great as a kid!! :teeth:
OMG Barry!!! I am laughing so had while reading this..first because we were just there yesterday and second you hit the nail on the head with your discriptions!!!!

This park is about an hour from us, and it is in the middle of no where!!! While we enjoy going once a year, after being at WDW then Hershey this know what I am trying to say! DVC and WDW really spoiled us this past year.

I always ache after getting off the Twister! I don't know what happens but my body hurts!

My kids and I crack up on the High Speed Thrill Coaster! It's that roar of the motor when you go up the hill is what makes us laugh!

We always have to do the Grand Carousal. I think it is one of the very few places left that you can try to get the brass ring. DS got it once..they give you tickets for a free ride.

The Pheonix is still our favorite there. DH lost a lot of weight recently and he was amazed how much air time he got yesterday since he had space between him and the lap bar!!!

Like I said, we do enjoy going once a year. It has been heavily advertised in the North East and the park has become more crowded over the past years. The ride prices have began to go up almost yearly now. I remember just a few years ago, the Pheonix was only $1, yesterday it was $1.60.

Too bad we didn't know the exact date.....I could have cooked you up a nice dinner of interesting canned food I have in my pantry

;) ;) ;)

......there have been some recent newspaper articles of loud parties at the red Roof in Danville......I think about the same date you were there!!!!!!!!

Wow, Knoebels hasn't really changed much in three years since I have been there.

WE actually camped in the campground, near the Twister.. We could hear the ride ops early in the morning testing and running it.. nothing like waking up and hearing it...

My sons very first coaster was the Phoenix.. at 3 years old!

It definetely had some kick to it..

Glad to hear that you had a good time, good to see the coupon worked for you.

That haunted house is cool isn't it? My son was too scared to go, so I went with my neices.
We travel to Knoebles every year for a weekend with 16 family members. We stay down at the campground in one of the LARGE log cabins. Very primitive with no water or bathroom --- but we still have loads of fun! Did you get down to the Campground to look around?
I walked by the campground to get video of Twister. I didn't want to step in anyone's campsite though.

Later tonight, look for a Dorney Park post!
This park sounds like fun. If I was younger, Barry, I would do exactly what you did, make a coaster tour. Hmmm, wonder if any of these parks honor AARP discounts ;)


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