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 Review of Phoenix @ Knoebels
0 Rating Posted by: ginzo on 8/12/2007 6:55:00 PM
In my relatively short tenure as a coaster dork this has been one of my most sought after credits from nearly the beginning. The Phoenixs reputation among enthusiasts seems mythical, almost to the level to which the Cyclone is elevated. And I had little reason to doubt the praise.
Im an airtime (Substance A, henceforth) junkie. Speed, directional changes, the out-of-control sensation, et al are all great, but ultimately Im in this for the negative-g experience. I think this also applies to a healthy number of fellow "out-of-town roller coaster weirdos". The Phoenix simply has Substance A in spades. There is not one dead hill. Each hill dishes out an ACE-gravy-buffet-worthy fix of precious Substance A. And the needle doesnt fall out of your arm until you bounce back into the station, cozily elated from one of the best coaster experiences known to Homo sapiens.
The particular variety of Substance A that the Phoenix is pushing is not of the same amped-up vein that the insane Mexican newcomer over in that South Jersey swamp peddles. But it is quality, pure and unstepped on, just the same. The Phoenix could be described as a "giggle machine", as the experience seems tuned in such a fashion to deliver uncontrollable laugher. What more could relatively self-respecting Substance A addict ask for?
On a more serious note, I have nothing but praise to the Knoebel family for resurrecting this gem. The love and care that they inject into this classic is nothing short of commendable. And further hats off to them for running this ride properly; with buzzbars and no seatbelts.

Review Comments

Timberman on 8/12/2007 7:52:11 PM said:
I havent been on the Phoenix for a couple of years, so Im very psyched to hear its still running so well. It may just deliver the most fun ride in coasterdom.
ginzo on 8/12/2007 8:41:40 PM said:
Considering that Knoebels restored this in the mid-80s and that it still ran great a few years ago when you rode it, one has to assume that Knoebels is in it for the long haul with this coaster. Then again not too many parks are lucky enough to have a full fledged coaster engineer head up their maintenance team.

The Phoenix almost makes me wonder if the woodie renaissance of the 90s wasnt moving backwards more than forwards. Assuming that Playlands Rocket was just any old coaster of its day, why is now catapulted to a top-tier ride? What does that say about the rides of today? We have bigger, badder, rougher, tougher. But, as you point out, Phoenix totally wins out for unadulterated fun.
Timberman on 8/13/2007 12:17:15 AM said:
I think big, bad, rough, and tough have their place in the scheme of things, too. The latter day "renaissance" coasters were pushing the envelope, and if you push hard enough, sometimes youre going to go too far. Im glad some are still willing to try, however, because Ive had many of the best coaster rides of my life during the last few years. Though the rides may not endure, at least not in their original form, Ill always be grateful I was around to experience their glory days, however fleeting. My consolation is that the neutered rides of tomorrow will provide countless Uncle Rico moments in my dotage.
hrrytraver on 8/13/2007 8:45:59 AM said:
i wonder if the phoenix was extraordinary or not in its first incarnation as the rocket. there are a bunch of schmecks currently running on the eastern seaboard, and they dont have the same chutzpah as the phoenix. looking at a lot of old coaster photos, ive always been of the assumption that many of 20s, 30s, 40s coasters were absurdly fun, wild, and forceful. but the schmecks ive been on, while great and nostalgic, seem kinda conservative or have weak endings. is it because of rebuilding (wildcat at LC was rebuilt in the 80s or something) or braking (hershey comet) that i dont get really pumped up about other schmeks? i dont know. may be he was in an odd mood and designed the phoenix differently (?). maybe it was somehow improved by being relocated? (not likely since apparently every board was numbered)
ginzo on 8/13/2007 8:49:36 AM said:
It seems like many of the best recent woodies are the smaller ones: Raven, Cornball Express, Avalanche, etc. Perhaps GCI really knows what theyre doing in refusing to go much over a 100 ft. lift hill. Yeah, the megawoodies are fun, but this mad dash to ride in the inaugural season before the ride becomes complete junk is sad. I blame marketing for this mess; shoehorning the steel coaster size wars onto woodies, where the concept doesnt apply so well. I wonder how many vendors that bid out for Son of Beast are still snickering to this day about how that turned out. There had to be more than a few firms that said, "You want to build WHAT?"
ginzo on 8/13/2007 3:51:41 PM said:
hrry: Hersheys Comet is definitely a ride that *seems* like its not living up to its potential. Neat layout, but nearly every hill is dead. I dont agree with nearly everyone that Hershey is that great. I think the park about an hour away is where its at. This is strange because I had been to Hershey about 10 years ago, and remember *loving* the place. But I go back this year and the love just wasnt there. At least they have roller soaker! That ride is a godsend brutally hot days, albeit the capacity leaves much to be desired.
hrrytraver on 8/15/2007 10:35:54 PM said:
btw, ginz, nice PKD (not kings dominion) touch in this review. at least i THINK thats who you were referring to.
ginzo on 8/16/2007 9:22:12 AM said:
Yeah, Im just finishing up "A Scanner Darkly". Will probably finish the book today. My theft of his material doesnt quite fit, airtime isnt a substance. PKD was an interesting fellow. I dont think anyone else has intelligently developed paranoia to the extreme level that he did. PKD was also really good at throwing in little details. Like how whenever Jim Barris talks about science he is invariably wrong. Like blatantly wrong. But you have to have a bit of a science background to know just how wrong he is.
hrrytraver on 8/16/2007 9:39:53 AM said:
ok, im about to take this review way off the rails, but did you know that some whiz kid grad student actually made a robot replica of PKD that could conduct rudimentary conversations on numerous PKD subjects? i figured that hollywood financed the whole project in the hopes that the droid would generate more movie plots for them, since they adapt PKD constantly. however, i recently discoverd that somehow the droids "head" got lost on a cross continental flight! ROBOT PKD has gone missing. bizarre barely covers this...


ginzo on 8/16/2007 2:06:37 PM said:
Thanks for the article. I *had* heard that, but didnt get too many details on the matter.
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