Phoenix – A Reborn Classic Woodie
Wooden Coaster Rises from the Ashes of the Rocket to Thrill Riders from All Over the Globe
Knoebels is small amusement park located in the middle of Pennsylvania. It’s a homey park with a very traditional feel. In a past life, Phoenix was the Rocket at Playland Park in San Antonio. After lying dormant for five years, Knoebels bought and moved the coaster to Elysbug, PA where it was reborn as the Phoenix. It fit in perfectly with the park’s feel and has become a favorite of enthusiasts all over the World. It’s over 20 years old and still ranked #4 in Mitch Hawker’s Internet Poll and #5 in the Golden Ticket Awards.
Phoenix was such a highly touted coaster that I was curious how much I would enjoy it. Especially after looking at pictures and viewing its unimpressive stats. After boarding the Philadelphia Toboggan trains I noticed that the lap bar stopped way above my lap.
Immediately after leaving the station we passed through a pretty long and dark tunnel. The aforementioned high lap bars combined with Phoenix’s pedestrian, but air-time packed layout added up to 20-some people floating out of their seats 8 or 9 times. It was a fun ride that bordered on scary. Riders literally held on for dear life as they popped out of their seats on every hill. The airtime was so extreme that I don’t think I even rode with my hands up. Speaking of extreme airtime, Phoenix was #2 on my Extreme Airtime roller coasters list.
Phoenix is a great ride for all ages and the average park-goers. And it has caused many an enthusiast to plot out a route to Elysburg, which is way off the beaten path. Phoenix is a perfect example of a roller coaster that doesn’t have staggering stats and doesn’t look like much, but just has to be ridden to be truly appreciated.