Even in my primordial and blissfully naïve enthusiast beginnings, I was fully aware of the existence of the Phoenix...an elusive relic of an era displaced by fancy twister layouts and superfluous inversions. It looked so simple in photographs...so unsuspecting. And yet the hype was monumental, and promises of airtime galore were rampant. Well let me tell you, this ride does not disappoint, and I give a hearty thanks to the Knoebel family for resurrecting this gem out of the smoldering ashes of demolition.
The ride begins brilliantly by plunging into an inky-black tunnel prior to the lift hill. Such a fantastic way to kick off an epic ride. After rounding a bend, the darkness gives way to sunlight, and the comfy, seatbelt-void rolling stock begins to ascend the lifthill. As for the layout itself, it is extremely straight-forward. There really isnt anything all that impressive about it at all --- a very subtle, modest, and unpretentious double out-and-back.
The airtime this ride delivers, however, is staggering to put it lightly --- a hefty dosage of euphoric standing airtime on pretty much every bunny hill with some killer ejector airtime tossed into the mix on the double-down element. The double-down happened to be my favorite part of the ride, recalling memories of the Jack Rabbit at Kennywood. The negative gs produced in this element are massive. Following some solid lateral gs on the final turnaround, its onto the homestretch. This wild race back to the station is superb with the most catastrophic amount of airtime Ive experienced in one series of bunny hops ever. Period.
I guess what I am getting at is that Phoenix is an enlightening experience that all coaster enthusiasts must have a taste of before they die. The back row undoubtedly provided the most ejector/floater airtime, but the front seats produced bizarre floater air that forced riders forward in their seats...really a strange sensation that is worth a spin or two. I much preferred the back row, however.
Regardless of where you sit, Phoenix is truly a legend of a forgotten time, and for only $2, anyone can magically be whisked away back to the glorious golden age of roller coasters. If you ask me...its worth it tenfold