Re: Photo TR: East Coast Trip (Hershey, Knoebels, Dorney and SFGADV)
The park opened promptly at 5:00. We were the first ones in the park. Walked all the way back to Storm Runner for our first ride of the day. Such a long walk, but SO worth it.
Storm Runner – We were on the front row for the first train out. This is what an Intamin Rocket coaster should be. Great launch, top-hat and additional elements. The ride is VERY spread out but very fast and very intense. I didn’t mind the OTSR’s on the train and I certainly see why they are there. We rode this twice within about 2 minutes. SWEET!!!
Wild Mouse – Lightning Racer and Wildcat were still testing so we walked on. It’s a typical Wild Mouse, but not braked as much as others we have been on. We had a really fun ride on it.
It was now time for my 100th credit. Since I wanted it to be something crappy, and really since the only crappy ride here is the Boomerang it had to be that.
Sidewinder – As far as boomerangs are concerned, this one wasn’t THAT bad. But, it’s still a boomerang.
Finally Wildcat and Lightning Racer were open, so we headed back into that area.
Wildcat – We rode the front row as instructed. I liked it more than Kristi did I think. It was a little rough, but we have certainly been on worse woodies.
We decided to do the Ferris Wheel next. Some nice arial views of the park.
Lightning Racer – We rode Thunder side first. I love the trains and seats on this thing. We rode towards the front and both really loved it. We won. Next up was Lightning. We decided to ride towards the back. Just as smooth, just as fun. And we won again. This is really a fun ride, I wish more parks would build these, or parks that have racing coasters **cough**SFMM**cough** would race them.
It was about 6:00 at this point and we were getting pretty hungry. We saw that there was a Nathan’s over near Great Bear so we made our way over there. Got some nice video of Storm Runner and Trailblazer on the way.
Made it over to Nathan’s and it was closed, as well as Wok and Roll. At first we were all “WTF” but then we realized that this was kind of a last minute thing for the park. Food deliveries most likely weren’t scheduled so we kind of overlooked it. No biggie.
On that same subject, it looked like a lot of the ride-ops that night were not normal op’s. They were mostly middle-aged people that looked like they might be park exec’s or something. But they were doing an awesome job and seemed to be really enjoying their duties being ride-ops for the day.
Since we were right next to Great Bear we decided to take a ride on it before we ate.
Great Bear – I hadn’t really heard anything good or bad about this ride, but Kristi and I both loved it. It’s probably my 2nd favorite invert behind Top Gun at PGA. It has the intensity of the older inverts but is still smooth and has a totally unique layout which is awesome.
Next up we saw Coal Cracker, the Intamin Flume, and I noticed they still used both sides of the drop and still had the little hump at the bottom. Had to do it. Fun ride, brought back some memories of when Jet Stream was so good.
We stopped and had some Boardwalk Fries, yes Kristi had some too. They were so good. We called Robb at this time and told him of our progress in the park.
Next we did the Kissing Tower. Fun ride, nice arial views of the park, especially at night. The park is absolutely gorgeous at night and the coasters are all lit up very cool.
Up next was the Monorail. We noticed it was sponsored by Blue Cross. The ride was cool, again some nice views of the park and it actually goes by the Hershey Factory which is really cool.
We then headed over to Comet hollow to do Comet and Super Dooper Looper.
Comet – This was without a doubt the strangest coaster experience of the night. Going up the hill we notice it’s not quite straight. We were both expecting a really rough ride. We were shocked after the first drop when it was smooth as glass. We both were kind of looking at each other kind of confused. The entire ride was smooth as glass. We were both amazed that nobody had ever told us how smooth this was. So we go around and get a back seat ride. Now we see why we hadn’t heard anything about this ride. This wasn’t the roughest coaster but it was significantly rougher in the back. Still fun though.
Super Dooper Looper – Anytime you can ride a Schwartzkopf looper with only a lap bar it’s a good day. This ride did not dissapoint. We rode three straight times, once in row 2, row 1 and back row. The only part of the ride we didn’t like were the brakes at the end. They were rough.
After this we headed back to Trailblazer, the last coaster we would do for the day. We didn’t feel like getting soaked on Roller Soaker although it looked VERY fun.
Trailblazer – Fun Arrow Mine Train. It made it even better in the dark.
At this point it was 9:00 and the park was closing at 10:00. The park was still DEAD and we thought about anything we wanted to go on again. We were both pretty tired because really it was like a full park day with all of the time we spent at Chocolate World. We then decided to go ahead and head out to see if we could hit Carraba’s in Allentown by their 11:00 closing.
On the way out we did some more shopping, got some pictures with the candy and headed for Allentown. We made it to Carraba’s at 10:15.
Gregg had the Rigatoni Capanola and Kristi had Sirloin Marsala WITH Garlic Mashed Potatoes. We finished off a whole basket of bread and some fried cheese. Great meal.
It was then back to the hotel, showers and some fun. :P
Re: Photo TR: East Coast Trip (Hershey, Knoebels, Dorney and SFGADV)
Saturday morning we woke up at about 8:00 and were ready to leave for Knoebels by about 9:00. We left early because we knew that getting to Knoebels might be tricky.
I had heard that while driving to the park you may think you are lost, but really won’t be. That certainly applied here. We kept thinking we were lost, pulling over to check and re-check the directions and making sure we were going the right way.
We made it to the park shortly after 11:00 which was awesome because it gave us some time to walk around and get our all-day ride bracelets.
After we parked we had trouble finding the main entrance. Well, this is because there really isn’t one. Once we finally made it past the picnic area, finding the building to get the all day ride passes was not difficult at all.
Got our all-day ride passes and they gave us a coupon for a free all-day ride pass for next year, during certain days. I think it’s about the time we were planning on coming back anyway, so that could work out pretty good.
Walked around a little bit and really fell in love with the place right away. It certainly is the most unique park we have ever been to. Finally made our way back to Phoenix Junction where there was already a short line forming for Phoenix. It was only about 11:30 at this time and we hadn’t eaten. They had opened up the food place near Phoenix so we decided to get some fries. DAMN … BEST FRIES EVER!!! If this was any indication of the food here then I knew we were in for a treat.
Finally 12:00 hit and they opened Phoenix. SWEET
Phoenix – I had heard nothing but good things about this coaster. And they were all right. They were only running one train for the first few hours but Knoebels running one train is like any other park running two. They were dispatching trains under 30 seconds. All of the ops seem to really enjoy what they do and it’s just a nice hassle free situation.
The ride itself is unbelievable. So much airtime it’s not even funny. When you look at the coaster it doesn’t look like it can deliver that much. It just goes to show that you don’t have to be the tallest or fastest or newest coaster to be the best.
We rode in the middle for our first ride, got off and were back on for a front seat ride within minutes. I didn’t think the front would deliver as much air, but it was more. I just can’t say enough good things about this coaster.
It was about 12:15 and we had already had two rides on Phoenix. If this was Knott’s we would still be waiting for Ghostrider to start testing. Stupid Knotts.
Next up was the Fandango. This was the first one we had been on and it certainly didn’t let us down. It was running a totally awesome program.
We then headed back past Phoenix to take a ride on the Log Flume. This is probably one of my favorite flumes. Neither one of us were expecting that first drop right after the first lift hill. We both flew forward on the last drop and I bashed my leg.
After the flume we headed over to the Flyers. But on the way we stopped and had some yummy Perogies. Damn they were good.
The only other flyers we had ridden were the flyers at PGA so this was a totally different experience for us. They were so fast and so high, it was awesome. Kristi doesn’t like the flyers as much as I do but I did get some snapping action towards the end.
We then headed across the bride and over to the parks other woodie, Twister.
Twister – Another walk on so we opted for a front seat ride. Another really fun ride, but when you have Phoenix in the same park it’s hard to not be over-shadowed. Still, it’s easily one of my favorite woodies. The two lift hills totally threw us off.
Since the Knoebels train was right there we decided to take a ride. Now, I love trains, and I never thought a train ride could pass the Disneyland RailRoad, but this one does. It’s just so unique. I love that it takes you through the woods, it’s kind of Friday the 13th. We didn’t see any rodents though.
Up next was the Power Surge. This is kind of a like a Chaos in the air. It was fun, but neither one of us really like the Chaos so we didn’t feel the need to ride this anymore.
Next we did the Sky Ride. This was totally awesome. Very relaxing and some awesome views. Kristi was getting a little freaked because of the height thing but I do think she enjoyed it.
As if the height on the Sky Ride weren’t enough, we did the Giant Wheel next. It was fun but I think there was a wasp next somewhere near because they were kind of attacking us. They didn’t sting us or anything though. It did add an element of suspense to the ride though.
We thought that the Downdraft looked cool so we tried that next. I didn’t realize it was so fast at the beginning. It was very intense. The restraints were kind of not padded as well. It was fun, but again, I don’t think I need to do these again.
We then crossed the road to get our last credit of the day.
High Speed Thrill Coaster – Fun little ride. Probably one of the most fun kiddie coasters I have been on.
It was about 2:30 and we were going to meet Bubba near Phoenix at 3:00. Just enough time to squeeze in the Haunted Mansion.
I know it’s kind of hit and miss with some people, but Kristi and I both loved it. We jumped a few times, especially on the truck part. I don’t think it’s as good as Disney’s at all, but it’s different and one of the better non-Disney dark rides we have been on. Which is not a lot.
At 3:00 we met up with Bubba and his daughter Hanna. We chatted for a few minutes, got to know each other a bit and headed for Phoenix which was now running 2 trains.
Another great ride. I still find it amazing that his coaster only has a 42” height requirement.
We all headed for the Bumper Cars next which would prove to be our longest wait the entire weekend at about 15 minutes. But it was SO worth it. These really are the best Bumper Cars.
Next up was the Brass Ring Carousel. This was our first time on one of these. It’s really fast, we were shocked. I got 9 rings and I think Kristi got 5. Really fun.
It was at this point we decided we wanted to try and make it to Dorney and get on everything there so we could have a chance to go to SFGADV on Sunday. Bubba insisted that we shouldn’t have a problem with about 2 hours at Dorney. So we said goodbye to Bubba and Hanna, exchanged cell numbers so Bubba could meet us at SF tomorrow if we did indeed go.
We picked up some Cesari’s pizza on the way out. Not only was this the best park Pizza ever, but it may just be the best Pizza ever … period.
We said goodbye to Knoebels and started our drive back to Dorney.
It was a funny thing about HersheyPark and Knoebels. We both could have stayed there longer than we were. We both loved both parks and are certainly our #1 and #2 parks outside of Disney, but they are too close to call. The problems we were having at these two parks were the fact that the kids weren’t with us. Everywhere we looked we saw things that the kids would absolutely love, and we were kind of regretting not bringing them with us.
Since we are already planning on bringing the kids to these parks next year, it made it easier for us to go ahead and leave earlier than we had planned. I know for a fact that we will be at these parks for full days next year so the kids can enjoy the parks as much as we did.
Re: Photo TR: East Coast Trip (Hershey, Knoebels, Dorney and SFGADV)
After leaving Knoebels it took us about 2 hours to get back to Allentown. Dorney was closing at 7:30 so we figured we would just go in and do a couple of rides since there was no way we could do everything in 90 minutes.
Driving into the parking lot we were glad to see the parking booths closed. Sweet, free parking. But it did look kind of full, so again, we didn’t think we could do it.
We walked over to Guest Relations, got our tickets and even asked if we could get Sunday’s ticket since we were going to be back then. Of course they said no and that we would need to come and get the tickets tomorrow morning. No biggie.
We walked in the park and it was the boardwalk area at Knott’s. It was so weird. All the way down to the Coasters Diner. But it looked like a good park and we figured we could do 2 days here no problem.
So since we didn’t think we could finish the park in 90 minutes we just kind of took it easy walking to the rides. At the front of the park is Talon.
Talon – We walked right on the back row. Good ride, MUCH better than Silver Bullet. Felt some good forces, but certainly not better than the other 2 B&M Inverted coasters we would ride this weekend.
Talon was Kristi’s 99th coaster so it was fitting that the mouse was right across the way for her 100th coaster.
Wild Mouse – It’s a wild mouse, but not as good as Hershey’s. it was braked A LOT more and even though it was a walk-on you could tell the ride would get a HUGE line because the op’s weren’t really on the ball. And after being at Knoebels all day you could really see the difference in operations at the two parks.
At this point we had only been at the park for about 15 minutes. I was taking some video when Kristi reminded me that we would be back at the park tomorrow and I could just do it then. So I pretty much put the camera away, although I did get some footage of our next coaster, Hydra.
Hydra – Everybody had told me how bad this was, but I just didn’t want to believe it. After riding Silver Bullet I didn’t think any of the newer B&M’s could be any more force-less than that. Boy was I wrong. It’s kind of sad when the coolest part of the ride is before the lift hill. The Jojo roll was indeed cool. The rest of the ride was kind of ho-hum. We walked on the front row with absolutely no wait.
We then decided to make our way over to the woodie and Steel Force since that was really the ride I wanted to ride the most. Since the sun was going down I figured we should take the advantage and ride it at night and then we could ride it during the day on Sunday.
But first we came to the woodie.
Thunderhawk – I actually enjoyed the ride, it was A LOT better than I thought it would be. Except … and you all know where I’m going with this … the trims on the final hills. You come flying to these hills and you are like “Sweet, airtime”. Then … clunk a clunk, clunk … you pretty much STOP, and crawl over the hills. Stupid Knott’s. What the hell. Butcher a perfectly good ride. What the hell is that. That pissed me off because I would have loved to ride Thunderhawk again, but that just made me too mad to want to. I also found it funny that this was 48” and Phoenix is 42” … LMFAO!!!
Steel Force – We walked on the back row of this morgan hyper. It looked pretty cool too. Up the lift and down the first 2 hills. Some sweet drops, but it just kind of crawled over the 2nd hill. Got to the turnaround and what’s this … some forces. Holy Crap. That’s sweet. To the MCBR’s and STOP. Again, any momentum the ride had going into the last few drops was gone. Overall though I think it was my favorite ride at Dorney.
Laser – Sweet, another Schwartzkopf looper with only lap bars. Get up to the station, and as I had heard, no preferred seating. WTF? Again, since we were planning on being back Sunday I go to put my stuff on the side. “Sorry, you have to take that with you”. WHAT? All the other rides you have to put your stuff on the side, but this one I HAVE to take it with me. Stupid Knotts. The ride was okay, but honestly, it’s probably my least favorite Schwartzkopf, I think I even like Revolution better even though it’s been butchered. We were also both shocked that there was no seat belt on this.
So it’s now about 7:00. We look at the map and see that we had done all of the coasters. We couldn’t do the Little Laser, Dragon was powered. I thought there was another coaster, but we couldn’t find it on the map. Stupid Knotts.
We look at the flats to see if there is really anything we HAVE to ride. Really, no. Nothing we can’t ride at home. We decided to go ride Steel Force again this time in the front seat. Another walk on, I really do like this ride.
It was at this point where we kind of looked at each other and thought if we could really spend another 4 hours at this park tomorrow. It was a quick NO.
On the way out I did the Whip since I had never done one and we did see Woodstock Express. But the park was closed and quite honestly, coming back to the park on Sunday JUST to do the kiddie would have been stupid.
Don’t get me wrong, I think Dorney is a fun park. I would have liked to have done the flume but it was too cold anyway. If the water park had been open we would have gone back Sunday because it looked really awesome. But there weren’t any of the coasters that we HAD to ride again on Sunday.
So we decided that if we were up to it on Sunday we would drive to SFGADV. But if we were tired we would just go into Philly for the day and do touristy stuff.
We left the park, went to the hotel to freshen up, called Bubba to let him know we finished Dorney and that we would let him know in the morning if we were up to SFGADV.
Went and had another awesome dinner at Carrabas, this time finishing off 2 baskets of bread. Kristi had Tagliarini Picchi Pacchiu and Gregg had Chicken Marsala. Another awesome meal.
Back to the hotel, packed our clothes and went to sleep at about 11:00.
Sorry there aren't a lot of Dorney pictures. Like I said, we were planning on going back on Sunday.
Re: Photo TR: East Coast Trip (Hershey, Knoebels, Dorney and SFGADV)
We set the alarm for 6:40 but we actually woke up at 6:20. Surprisingly we weren’t that tired so we decided to get up and head for SFGADV. Bubba had said he usually wakes up at 7:00 but we figured we would give him until 8:00. We hit the road shortly after 7:00.
Driving on the PA Turnpike there wasn’t any traffic at all and we made it to Philly at around 8:00 even after stopping for a Diet Coke on the way.
Called Bubba to let him know we would be going and he said he would meet us there.
It was nice to drive through Philly during the day, looks like a nice city. I think we want to spend at least ½ day in the city when we come out next year. But we will just have to see.
Crossed the Ben Franklin Bridge (For some reason I kept calling it the George Washington Bridge, but that’s in NY). Crossed into NJ and it was suddenly … different. At least that first few miles in Jersey looks like typical (what we had heard) Jersey. But once we got on the Turnpike it looked similar to PA. Trees, Greenery, didn’t look too bad.
Six Flags Great Adventure
We made it to Six Flags at about 9:15 and Bubba had just arrived. He called on the cell and said that he was waiting for us past the front gates.
Wait a second, this is Six Flags right?
Walked in the park, security was no problem and meet Bubba at the front. First impressions of the park are very nice. The only Six Flags park I could really compare this to for themeing would be SFFT. It was VERY nice. It was also cool that Bubba actually knew a lot of the history of the park. While also being a great tour guide, we did get to hear some history of the park. Very cool.
The Q-bot office was already open so we went in and got our Q-bot for 3. You have to sign a waiver stating that you are not guaranteed to ride Kingda Ka. That’s kind of funny.
We decided to start off on the side of the park with Superman, KK and GASM. We figured we would queue up KK with the Q-bot and then do the rest of the rides over here. Bubba said we wouldn’t need Q-bot for them.
I always think it's funny when people say "You paid $60 to ride one ride". I don't see it that way. We paid $60 so we could ride everything else and not have to wait in line to only ride one ride. And it certainly worked out for us today.
They opened the park right at 10:00 and we walked over to KK which actually hadn’t begun testing yet. We scan the Q-bot and get a 10:46 return time. SWEET. Enough time to do Superman and GASM.
Superman: Ultimate Flight – We had ridden Superman in Georgia so we knew what to expect. I still think it’s an awesome ride though. The Pretzel loop is absolutely the most intense part of the ride. It was weird not seeing the dual loading stations like the SFOG model. We took a back seat ride and got some nice POV.
GASM – I wasn’t really looking forward to the Arrow multi-looper but this one was actually not bad. We took a front seat ride and, I almost hate to say it, I actually enjoyed this ride. It’s WAY better than Viper.
After GASM we checked our Q-bot and noticed that our time for KK had been pushed back to 11:05, no biggie. But the ride was now running with people and launching consistently. Good sign.
We headed over to the Frontier Adventures section of the park. Bubba showed us where the new woodie was going. It’s going to look sweet over in that area. The landscaping in this area is really awesome. They have really done a nice job with this park. We then headed over for the arrow mine train.
Runaway Mine Train – Fun ride. One of the better Arrow Mine Trains IMO. I still think the one at SFFT is better but this one is really fun.
Up next was Medusa, or Scream East. Walking over and we see … no parking lot. WOW!!! It’s actually very nicely themed over here as well.
Medusa – I don’t understand that if Scream is a mirror image of this, how Medusa is so much better. Sure the location has something to do with it, but the ride just seemed smoother and more intense than it’s West Coast counterpart. I think this is my new favorite B&M Floorless.
So now it was about 11:00 and it was time for Kinda Ka. Got over, right up to the station and we were on the next train out, Row 2. Wouldn’t you know … the damn thing breaks down. This was the ONLY time this weekend that was stressful. We still had some more rides to get on, and I REALLY wanted to ride Nitro. We really didn’t care about riding KK at first, but after going this far, getting the Q-bot, and we are the next train we wanted to ride.
Luckily the break down only lasted about 10 minutes, they tested it and we were off.
Kingda-Ka – This ride gets A LOT of bad word of mouth. Sure it’s a one-trick pony, but it’s one hell of a trick. I still think that Storm Runner is my favorite Intamin Rocket, but I may like KK more than Xcelerator. After riding Xcelerator probably 100 times this one is quite weird. I kept expecting to go over the top but it kept going and going and going. The drop down was amazing. The air-time hill was kind of a let down and I still say it’s a shame to let all of that speed go to waste.
Overall Kristi and I really liked it. But, I wouldn’t wait 3 hours for it. I think the wait we had was about perfect.
So after KK it was over to the other side of the park. We had really just planned on riding Nitro and Chiller after that but we saw there was no line for Blackbeards Lost Treasure Train the zierer double figure 8.
Blackbeards Lost Treasure Train – The only other coaster I have been on that compared to this was Cobra at SFMW. It’s a fun ride, and it was a walk on.
Up next was Skull Mountain. We kind of forgot we had the Q-bot and got in the regular line because Bubba said it’s usually a walk-on. Well, it wasn’t. So we reversed our direction, queued up the ride and it gave us a wait time of about 7 minutes. I figured now was a good time to queue up Nitro, Batman and Chiller. By the time we queued those up it was time for our ride.
Skull Mountain – This is very similar to Runaway Mountain at SFOT. Fun ride. Bubba said during Fright Fest they have some lights and stuff inside. They should have kept it that way all year, it would be better.
After Skull Mountain we had about 15 minutes before our Nitro ride so we walked through Bugs Bunny World. I really do think this has to be one of the nicer themed Six Flags parks. The Bugs Bunny world looked amazing. Also their Fright Fest decorations were pretty sweet.
Nitro – This was probably the ride I was most looking forward to at the park. It was our first B&M sit down (other than floorless coasters). We took a back seat ride and weren’t disappointed. I know these aren’t as intense as their Intamin counterparts, but it was still the best hyper I have been on. I definitely want to get some more rides on this when we go back next year.
Batman: The Ride – This was our 3rd Batman and I rank it behind SFOG’s and before SFMM’s. Gone is the ghetto queue of SFMM’s and they got the yellow paint treatment that I like A LOT better.
Batman and Robin: The Chiller (Robin Side) – Personally I would have rather the Batman side been open, but this was still a great ride. I really do like the Premier launched coasters. They aren’t quiet at all which is great.
At this point it was about 1:30. We had done everything we wanted to do at the park in 3 ½ hours. We wanted to do some shopping since we hadn’t done any at Dorney the night before. Back over to Golden Kingdom, got the kids some KK shirts, I got a KK shirt and Kristi got a KK sweatshirt. We also got a snowglobe and some magnets for some of our CA friends.
Took some pictures of the Tigers which are pretty cool. If these things were at SFMM they would be dead by now.
At 2:00 we said our goodbye’s to Bubba, who was going to pick up Hanna and be home in time to see his wife when she got off of work.
Back on the NTP and back to Philly. We went a different way this time and crossed the Walt Whitman bridge. Made it back to the airport at about 3:30, checked in, had some lunch.
The flight home was not too bad. We did have a screaming baby the ENTIRE flight. I hate that. But we got through Disc 6 of LOST which was cool.
Overall we had a totally awesome trip. Kristi was a great co-pilot and we didn’t get lost at all. I was glad the weather cooperated with us and it didn’t rain at all.
Thanks to the people who helped us plan our trip. Ted for giving us the heads up on Hershey. Quaker for the directions to Knoebels. And Bubba for hanging out with us at Knoebels and getting us through SFGADV. I don’t think we would have been able to get on everything if you weren’t there. Plus it was fun to have somebody else to hang out with. Sorry we didn’t get to meet the wife, when you make it out to CA we will have to hang out some more.