Knoebels Impulse Opening Weekend Ride Review 4-26-15

It was a tight envelope, but I managed to make it up to opening weekend at Knoebels and get a lap on Knoebels’ newest and first steel coaster in over a decade: Impulse. It didn’t disappoint and was a very enjoyable ride! If you want to be surprised, skip over the next few paragraphs and go right to the photos!

After entering under the brake run, you walk behind the machine room for the ride as it towers all around you. While it still needs a little work, you enter the main queue area, that is set up similar to Fahrenheit (ride area off to the right, station on the left with two sets of stairs leading to the station (future single rider line?), and base of the lift straight ahead. While it may seem familiar to that Intamin coaster 50-some miles to the south, that is where it ends.

Once in the station, an employee groups you into your rows for the car. Once the gates open, you just hand your loose items to the attendant, take your seat, and pull back on your lap restraint, which is pretty beefy and comes with shin bars. Think of it as a souped-up Skyrush lapbar that covers your entire lap.

Once your car is all-clear, you are dispatched to the front of the station where you wait for the other one in front of you to enter the final helix. Once ready, the car creeps slowly around the first turn to the base of the lift. Unlike Fahrenheit, your car automatically engages the lift and pulls you straight up to 98-feet.

That view of the blue sky within seconds turns to ground as the car starts to rocket down the vertical drop. You are suddenly town out of your seat with some airtime. Upon reaching the top-speed of over 55 mph, you curve into the cobra roll inversion, which is a little looser than others and you experience your first section of positive g-forces and hang time at the top of the inversion sections.

Next, you enter a brief straight section of track that transports you to the vertical loop element, where you experience more positive g-forces at the base and hang time at the peak. Next is a banked turn over the queue line and a helix that circles the lift. Following up is one of my favorite parts of the ride: the heartline roll.

Think of it as a faster version of Hydra’s mojo-roll at Dorney Park and you get this twist that threads right through the vertical loop. You are literally out of your seat the entire time! To conclude your thrilling experience, you enter the helix finale where there is one last dose of positive g-forces waiting for you and into the magnetic brakes that bring you to a sudden, but gentile stop.

In conclusion, Impulse is a great addition to the Knoebels coaster line-up. While it might not have the airtime of Phoenix, the lateral forces of Twister, or the nostalgia of Flying Turns, it does have hang time, positive g-forces and inversions on today’s modern scream machines. It is a coaster that will make you ride it again and again!

Welcome back to Knoebels. 2015 is a big year for the park as it recently opened it's 6th coaster.

Welcome back to Knoebels. 2015 is a big year for the park as it recently opened it’s 6th coaster.

For three dollars, you can enjoy their new ride. It is included in the Basic wristband plan. Riders 48" to 52" inches tall need to ride in a special booster seat that attaches to the seat in the vehicle.

For three dollars, you can enjoy their new ride. It is included in the Basic wristband plan. Riders 48″ to 52″ inches tall need to ride in a special booster seat that attaches to the seat in the vehicle.

The queue line is the best place to witness what will unfold on your ride.

The queue line is the best place to witness what will unfold on your ride.

You can get some shots such as this one.

You can get some shots such as this one.

Since the ride was made by a German company (Zierer), the flag of Germany was hung on the transfer track.

Since the ride was made by a German company (Zierer), the flag of Germany was hung on the transfer track.

While the ride is open, a lot of work still needs to be done such as landscaping in the ride area and queue rows for the line.

While the ride is open, a lot of work still needs to be done such as landscaping in the ride area and queue rows for the line.

There are two stairs leading to the station. Only one was being used so far. Single rider line maybe for the second one (hoping).

There are two stairs leading to the station. Only one was being used so far. Single rider line maybe for the second one (hoping).

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It does crawl around this turn to the lift.

It does crawl around this turn to the lift.

Riders 48" to 52" need this booster seat that goes right on to the seats on the cars.

Riders 48″ to 52″ need this booster seat that goes right on to the seats on the cars.

As you can see, the lap restraints are pretty big.

As you can see, the lap restraints are pretty big.

Waiting to unload.

Waiting to unload.

Once ready, the car moves to the front of the station to wait for the rest of the ride to be clear of cars.

Once ready, the car moves to the front of the station to wait for the rest of the ride to be clear of cars.

The ride fences do allow you to get under the tower helix in the back near the road.

The ride fences do allow you to get under the tower helix in the back near the road.

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Be sure to get out there and ride it!

Be sure to get out there and ride it!

Thanks for reading!

-Chris

Laff Trakk Construction Update 4-16-15

Well Springtime in the Park has come and gone, now just less than two weeks until the start of the main summer season for Hersheypark. We’ve already got our first looks at the entrance and view of Laff Trakk from inside of the park. The first few photos were from the first Saturday of the Springtime event.

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Fast foreward to today and the artwork for the fake windows is starting to go in. So far the ones on the side facing the park are up and one is up on the side facing the Whip. Curbing is also going in next the Midway Tent and since the maintenance door was installed and open, I was able to get my camera to zoom in from the roadway to see what it looks like inside.

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The curbing in front of the Midway Tent is in.

The curbing in front of the Midway Tent is in.

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Final turn into the brakes?

Final turn into the brakes?

I spy the bottom of the first drop!

I spy the bottom of the first drop!

It helps to have a good camera in this case.

It helps to have a good camera in this case.

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The pinwheel is back on the Ferris Wheel.

The pinwheel is back on the Ferris Wheel.

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Artwork is going up.

Artwork is going up.

The park has also announced that Laff Trakk will officially be opening Memorial Day Weekend, so get ready to take it for a “spin” in a little more than a month!

Thanks for reading,

Chris C.

Laff Trakk Construction and Park Update: 3/26/15

With the building up and ride track installed, the next stage of theming being added to the building is starting to begin. The framework for what looks to be fake windows is starting to be added to the outside of Laff Trakk’s show building as well as some trim to the lower parts of the building. Catwalk and spiral stairwell pieces have shown up for the ride as well.

Elsewhere in the park, rides are slowly coming out of their winter slumber with Monorail, Skyrush, Storm Runner, Fahrenheit, Lightning Racer, Wildcat, Comet, and Trailblazer already testing. Wave Swinger and Ferris Wheel (it is missing it’s pinwheel lighting at the moment) look mostly put back together as well.

On a sidenote, it looks like Turnpike will be sharing their exit stairs as the Sportcars side seems to be missing with a railing going across from where it connected with the Antique side.

While searching around a little on the park’s website, it looks like there is some more info posted on the new menu items around the park. It is kind of hard to tell if the list is finished as Gourmet Grill, Country Grill, Pioneer Frontier Food Court, and just about all of Midway America is missing. There is a new location called Laff Trakk Beverage listed, which will sell  drinks, hot dogs, sausage sandwiches, and pretzels.

Overlook Food Court will be receiving a big change in food offerings it seems for this season with nine different concession locations within the building. The original items such as hot dogs, burgers, and pizza will be offered, but what is new is the addition of wings, three new types of mac & cheese, penne pasta (alfredo and marinara), soups, several types of salads and wraps!

Up in Craftbarn Kitchen in Founder’s Way, some similar changes are also being made at this venue as well with breaded mushrooms, zucchini, and pickle spears being added to the offerings. Classic mac and cheese was also added to the list for this location as well.

Nothing too major, but Decades looks like it will be offering waffle fries for this season.

The Outpost has been listed, but it is not really known where it will be in the Pioneer Frontier area. The menu for this new location will be buffalo chicken pizza, buffalo chicken sandwich, cheese pizza, chicken tenders, grilled veggie sandwich, salads, sesame-free hummus, soft pretzel bites, southwest chicken sandwich, and turkey burger.

Newly listed on the 2015 section of the park’s website, there will be two new entertainment shows coming to the park: Dance, Dance – Encore in the Music Box Theatre and Rollin’ Down the River in the Country Grill. Two in-park redemption areas for Season Passes will also be introduced as well at Fun in the Sun in the Boardwalk and the Hersheypark Business Center in Kissing Tower Hill.

Time for the photos:

The Ferris Wheel is back up in Midway America.

The Ferris Wheel is back up in Midway America.

Laff Trakk is starting to slowly blend in with Midway America.

Laff Trakk is starting to slowly blend in with Midway America.

Here is a close-up of some of the trim that was just added.

Here is a close-up of some of the trim that was just added.

I wonder if anything will be added on this side?

I wonder if anything will be added on this side?

Railings, stairs, and catwalks have arrived and are waiting to be added.

Railings, stairs, and catwalks have arrived and are waiting to be added.

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Looks like this will be a maintenance access road to replaced the one that was near the Midway Tent.

Looks like this will be a maintenance access road to replaced the one that was near the Midway Tent.

Spiral stairs.

Spiral stairs.

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Turnpike will be sharing a set of exit stairs this year.

Turnpike will be sharing a set of exit stairs this year.

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Work up at Chocolate World is progressing.

Work up at Chocolate World is progressing.

Chocolate House near the entrance received a new roof a few weeks ago.

Chocolate House near the entrance received a new roof a few weeks ago.

Thanks for reading!

-Chris C.

Knoebels Impulse Lift Top-Off 2-27-15

Turns out that I went back up to Knoebels again for the topping off of the lift for Impulse. It was still cold up there, but it was nicer than a few days ago. It took them a little longer than the other pieces a few days, but I guess it comes expected with it being a piece that goes in between others.

This time I also got a  little closer look at the test car, found out that the transfer track is behind the station, and got a pretty cool shot of the inline-twist. All that is left is the station track, turn around the lift hill, and the turn by the Skyway station, but given how how fast it has been going in, that shouldn’t take too long.

And we're back. Much of the lift is up and all that is missing is the top piece of track.

And we’re back. Much of the lift is up and all that is missing is the top piece of track.

It's all hooked up and ready to fly.

It’s all hooked up and ready to fly.

In the mean time, here comes more supports.

In the mean time, here comes more supports.

Swinging it into place.

Swinging it into place.

Just about in. Just need to bring it down and align it into place.

Just about in. Just need to bring it down and align it into place.

It fits!

It fits!

Looks awesome!

Looks awesome!

Straight down!

Straight down!

More lift components went in since last time including an access ladder.

More lift components went in since last time including an access ladder.

Should I call it a cobana roll?

Should I call it a cobana roll?

It took them around three weeks to add this.

It took them around three weeks to add this.

With such as tight radius at the top of the tower, I wouldn't expect to be flying over it. It would be such a tease if they had the cars slow to a crawl at the top!

With such as tight radius at the top of the tower, I wouldn’t expect to be flying over it. It would be such a tease if they had the cars slow to a crawl at the top!

Found the transfer track...

Found the transfer track…

...and the control panel as well.

…and the control panel as well.

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Still tweaking everything into place.

Still tweaking everything into place.

I love this view!

I love this view!

Can't wait to include a train in this view!

Can’t wait to include a train in this view!

Given how much hardware is under this car, I honestly think that this might actually be one of the ride vehicles and not just a testing car.

Given how much hardware is under this car, I honestly think that this might actually be one of the ride vehicles and not just a testing car.

Knoebels Impulse Construction Update 2-24-15

Yesterday, I joined All American Thrills on a trip up to Knoebels to get my first look at Impulse and to help them out with their construction update. You can find their update that includes video here. Some of the photos you see here may also be included in their update as well, just to let you know ahead of time.

A little over half of Impulse is now together with the lift hill currently being added and it is a little more than three weeks into construction. Pieces are going up at a rapid rate of one every nine minutes (within the 40 minutes we were there, they pretty much had one level of the lift hill supports in. We were told by one of the crew that testing could start in as few as several weeks.

I am willing to be this is the first drop.

I am willing to be this is the first drop.

Same with this being the support for the top of the lift. If so, then this lift will look different than it's counterpart out in Utah.

Same with this being the support for the top of the lift. If so, then this lift will look different from its counterpart out in Utah.

They are starting to get down to the last few pieces.

They are starting to get down to the last few pieces.

This little beauty is the test car. Given how heavy-duty it looks, it wouldn't shock me if this turns into an actual ride vehicle.

This little beauty is the test car. Given how heavy-duty it looks, it wouldn’t shock me if this turns into an actual ride vehicle.

I mean, it looks like it has magnetic brakes on it so why not?

I mean, it looks like it has magnetic brakes on it so why not?

Walking from the parking lot to the front of the park, this is what will welcome you this year.

Walking from the parking lot to the front of the park, this is what will welcome you this year.

It's tight, compact, and looks like it will really be a favorite this summer!

It’s tight, compact, and looks like it will really be a favorite this summer!

I love the structure of the loop for some reason.

I love the structure of the loop for some reason.

The cobra roll looks interesting as the mid-section seems to be a little higher than from others I have seen.

The cobra roll looks interesting as the mid-section seems to be a little higher than from others I have seen.

This coaster also looks to be very photo friendly as well. Just needs a train in this shot!

This coaster also looks to be very photo friendly as well. Just needs a train in this shot!

Here's the main section that they were working on today. The lift motor and the first section of the support structure for the lift is in.

Here’s the main section that they were working on today. The lift motor and the first section of the support structure for the lift is in.

They had a collection of pieces sitting out ready to be added next.

They had a collection of pieces sitting out ready to be added next.

Even though the lift isn't fully up yet, the cobra roll is huge!

Even though the lift isn’t fully up yet, the cobra roll is huge!

The track for the first turn out of the station and base of the lift is in.

The track for the first turn out of the station and base of the lift is in.

Another nice shot that would look great if it had a car in (and more track)!

Another nice shot that would look great if it had a car in (and more track)!

Drive tires ready to be installed.

Drive tires ready to be installed.

They were pouring concrete for the station while we were there. Knoebels is handling that part of the ride.

They were pouring concrete for the station while we were there. Knoebels is handling that part of the ride.

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After they got done with lunch, work resumed.

After they got done with lunch, work resumed.

As soon as they would be ready to lift a new pieces into place, another would be brought over from the parking lot and rigged to be ready to be moved into place.

As soon as they would be ready to lift a new pieces into place, another would be brought over from the parking lot and rigged to be ready to be moved into place.

Here's the first piece we saw get ready to go in.

Here’s the first piece we saw get ready to go in.

There it goes.

There it goes.

Several minutes later, it's in and they were ready to move on to the next one.

Several minutes later, it’s in and they were ready to move on to the next one.

Here comes the next piece from the parking lot.

Here comes the next piece from the parking lot.

Second piece.

Second piece.

Third piece.

Third piece.

From the first to the third piece took about 40 minutes to do. No wonder this thing is going up at a rapid rate!

From the first to the third piece took about 40 minutes to do. No wonder this thing is going up at a rapid rate!

Thanks again to Walt at All American Thrills for letting me tag along to get to see Impulse for the first time. After seeing it the other day, it really has me excited to ride it this spring!

Thanks for reading!

-Chris C.

P.S. Be sure to also check out the blog that I will also be doing over at All American Thrills. I will be doing some special feature articles and commentary pieces over there as well as help them with their photo gallery. As for now, I will keep this blog but it will be more for construction updates and park updates.

Laff Trakk Construction Update: 2-4-15

As January turns to February, much of the walls to Laff Trakk’s building have gone up allowing the construction workers to be able to close up the building to add heat. This will likely make it easier for the coaster itself to start to go up.

While out walking, I ran into Brandon and Kyle over at All American Thrills who were out with ALTAir to get their recent arial update. It was a pretty interesting experience in seeing what it takes to fly one of these drones and that it isn’t something like a toy that you just let go and fly around. Just a note, they do get park permission before flying, so don’t try it at home…or should I say, the park. lol

While on that note, let me just insert a little Public Service Announcement as there seems to have been a bit of this lately:

When I get construction updates for Laff Trakk, and this was the same for Skyrush, I always make sure I am taking my photos off private property. The photos that I take are from the side of Hersheypark Drive, which is a public road. While there is a small stone road that runs right next to the park fence that is outside, this road is likely owned by the park and for safety reasons, respect of the construction workers, and because I don’t have park permission, I stay off of this road.

This weekend is ACE’s (American Coaster Enthusiasts) East Coaster event at Hersheypark I will be going with a friend of mine, who is a member. Included will be a construction tour, a presentation from local parks, and a behind-the-scenes tour of Hershey’s Chocolate Tour Ride over at Chocolate World. It’s going to be a great weekend, so stay tuned for more!

You check out the ALTAir footage here!
-Chris

Half a month ago, only part of this wall was up.

Half a month ago, only part of this wall was up.

It stands pretty tall over the Whip building.

It stands pretty tall over the Whip building.

Many of the walls are now up (minus the ones for the storage area).

Many of the walls are now up (minus the ones for the storage area).

These pieces of blue siding or roofing still need to be installed.

These pieces of blue siding or roofing still need to be installed.

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Canvas are now up  over all the entrances to the building, probably to start heating up the inside of the building.

Canvas are now up over all the entrances to the building, probably to start heating up the inside of the building.

Still needs some siding here. You can tell where the transfer track will be.

Still needs some siding here. You can tell where the transfer track will be.

Still quite a bit away until being done, but with the walls up, it is starting to give us a general idea on what the building will look like.

Still quite a bit away until being done, but with the walls up, it is starting to give us a general idea on what the building will look like.

I then watched Brandon and Kyle fly ALTAir for their aerial update. They are permitted to down here and received permission prior to their flight.

I then watched Brandon and Kyle fly ALTAir for their aerial update. They are permitted to down here and received permission prior to their flight.

Up it goes!

Up it goes!

Should be over the far end of the Midway Tent at this point.

Should be over the far end of the Midway Tent at this point.

Thanks to All-American Thrills for letting me watch with them!

Thanks to All-American Thrills for letting me watch with them!