This week’s Way-To-Go Wednesday news winner goes to Knoebels on their teasing posts regarding 2015. Last Thursday the park published a photo to its Facebook page announcing, “they sent the fourth generation of the Knoebel family in search of the next big thing and they have found it.” The image shows a file with the words “Top Secret” and “Project 2015” printed on it. It poses quite a few questions and answers just about none of them.
We are still several months away for Knoebels to be opening for the 2014 season and we are just starting to be hyped up for the following season. Whatever it is, it sounds like Project 2015 could be something significant in the park’s history. We still have questions on what it could be, where it could be going, and when will work start, so let’s hypothesize for a moment on this.
What could it Be?
We all know that Knoebels is big on preservation and saving old rides for future generations to enjoy for years to come. Every coaster that they own has some historic value (Phoenix was moved from a closed park, Twister was going to be Mister Twister at one point, Black Diamond came from Wildwood, Kosmo’s Kurves took the place of the rare High Speed Thrill Coaster with the same layout, and Flying Turns is a replica of the former wooden bobseld coasters of the past) so given what they have with the collection, they could either re-locate an existing used coaster and refurbish it or contact a manufacturer to build something new with the same layout of a previously built coaster design.
If Knoebels would go down the used coaster route, there have been talk of two Scharzkopf steel coasters that have gone up for sale; Teststrecke, which used to be Laser at Dorney Park, and Knightmare, a larger coaster that was located in Japan and is currently in England. Teststrecke is in the better shape of the two having been recently refurbished, but a good year and a half can be a nice amount of time to allow Knightmare to be refreshed.
With Flying Turns and Twister, Knoebels did receive some assistance from Great Coasters International (the Sunbury PA. company who have built Lightning Racer and Wildcat at Hersheypark) on construction, so asking them for assistance in building their next ride could be a possibility. There is also has been a rumor circulating, to go off of the Schwarzkopf rumors, that there is a company that could replicate the layouts of rides such as those and construct a newer version of them.
Even though there is a smaller possibility, Project 2015 could be something other than a coaster. There’s a possibility it could be anything from a water park, a collection of several classic new rides, a new kids area, or something never seen before.
Where Could it Be?
Knoebels has several other attractions surrounding the park. Towards the West behind the Phoenix, is where the Lumber Yard hardware store is located along with several cottages and vacation homes that the park rents out. These places are pretty popular with booking required with quite of an advanced notice. If this is true, the park might not want to touch any of these buildings unless they relocate them like what was done for Black Diamond.
On the North side of the park, the main entrance road to the parking lot sits within a few feet to the rides. On the other side is a steep mountain that the Scenic Skyway climbs. I would think that building over there would be somewhat of a safety hazard, but still, there isn’t really much flat land available for a coaster station.
In the East sits the main parking lot with parking spaces being mostly in the northern part and picnic pavilions in the lower part. This could be a possible location for a new attraction depending on its size as it could be easy to move a pavilion or two around. As for building in the parking lot, if the footprint is kept small to lessen the loss of spaces, I could see it possible.
The Southern section of Knoebels would be a difficult location to construct a new attraction because it is home to a few brand-new summer homes, the Pioneer Train, and the Campground, which covers much of the length of the park.
When Could Work Start?
Given that teasers are starting to come out of the Knoebels Facebook page, it does sound like there is a chance that we could see an official announcement before opening day for 2014. The park has just recently posted something new yesterday to the excitement going mentioning a secret meeting. Usually to keep interest in their followers, most parks usually don’t keep doing something like this for very long unless it becomes a full-scale viral marketing campaign, like what was seen with Hersheypark for Skyrush.
Another possibility that we could see an announcement soon is that if construction were to begin in the middle of the season, it would raise suspicion, but then again that could also be a positive thing as it would get people talking.
Whether it is announced sooner or later, it seems that Knoebels is in for a good 2014 and 2015 season. Keystone Thrills will continue to carefully watch this and see what comes out of this.