I have been dying to go back to Knoebel’s ever since I was there on opening day in 2013 with the DAFE crew. I know this sounds weird coming from the likes of me, and that this is the opposite of what I should like, but this park is ADORABLE. It’s all quaint and family-friendly, far away from the Big City and rife with fluffy dogs on leashes. And that’s just on a regular day! They have Halloween-themed weekends in October, so Henry earned a million brownie points (do those still exist? is there an app to keep track of them now?) by taking us there last weekend.
It was goddamn precious. Leaves on the ground. Hay bales painted like pumpkins. Ghosts hanging from the trees. A Halloween-music light show on the front of some building. There were no chainsaw guys or zombies popping out from behind garbage cans, but who the hell cares? Sometimes a little Halloween Lite is just as magical.
Also, the novelty of amusement park rides in the fall!
On the way through the parking lot, Chooch declared that whoever stepped on a leaf first loses. Because I am an 8-year-old too, I was all about this game and nimbly tip-toed past crisp leaves skipping across the pavement in front of me, all while giving Chooch sharp shoves to try and make him trip up, Once we crossed the threshold into the park, though, I decided that we should stop playing because I wanted to look around at the seasonal decor instead of keeping my eyes on the ground.
“Besides,” I added. “Everyone knows I won anyway, Chooch.”
“Hey! I didn’t step on any leaves either!” Henry cried from in front of us, and I laughed because what the fuck, guys? Who invited Henry to our reindeer games?
I didn’t know this until we got there, but Chooch could have worn a costume and participated in the trick-or-treating stops around the park. I am always so woefully unprepared.
CHOOCH: I thought the skeletons in the car were Ron and Jim from the tombstone right in front of it.
First up, Chooch waited in line for the much-anticipated new ride of 2014, Flying Turns. It was the longest line we’d wait in all day, because this bitch is a hot commodity. (It took something like 8 years to build it, I think.) They had cute Halloween decorations set up along the line though, so we at least had things to distract us from the violent thoughts and ideas our minds were drawing up regarding the three teenagers in front of us who were totally obnoxious and kept rough-housing (ladies and gentlemen, I’m officially my dad) and every time they would lower their voices and side-eye me, I was certain they were making fat jokes.
(Chooch can’t write his thoughts on those kids because I won’t let him swear of make violent statements, so he said he has nothing to say then.)
Did I mention that there were signs along the way that threatened an approaching weigh-in? Because of the type of coaster this is, and physics that make my brain bleed, the ride attendants have to make sure that the weight is dispersed between the cars in a very precise manner and that SOME RIDERS MAY NOT BE ABLE TO RIDE TOGETHER. I texted Henry and said, “Great. I have to get weighed just to ride this thing? I want to die.” And he was all “lol.” I’m sorry, how is my body dysmorphia/eating disorder/obesophobia FUNNY? Fuck you, Henry. Have fun sitting on benches all day with the old people.
Turns out, it wasn’t that big of a deal. There were three large metal plates on the coaster platform that you had to stand on with your riding partner while waiting for your turn, and the weights weren’t displayed, and even if they were, it was a combined total anyway. Chooch and I got the front car and several pre-teen kids filled up the other two and I guess my thunder thighs didn’t break the ride because we made it back in one piece.
All of that for a ride that seemingly lasted for all of 40 seconds and was just OK.
Meanwhile, Henry had been roaming about like a child predator on the loose, and won Chooch some stupid plush peace finger thing, but it says YOLO on it. I kept hoping Chooch would lose it.
CHOOCH: I had it put in my sleeve and I kept acting like it was my hand and just holding it up.
I think that the Phoenix might be my favorite wooden coaster of all time. It makes me laugh so hard that my face hurts (I KNOW, I KNOW: AND IT’S KILLING YOU). The second time Chooch and I were in line for this, we had an actual argument over where we sat the first time (he said it was the third car, BUT IT WAS THE FOURTH).
Anyway, the first part of the Phoenix has you going through a tunnel, which is fun on its own, but at night it was all foggy and lit up with Halloween shit! IT WAS SO EXCITING! CHOOCH AND I SCREAMED LIKE ASSHOLES!!!
CHOOCH: When it was nighttime, me and mommy were just talking and then we didn’t even know a hill was coming up and we screamed like idiots.
This park is really not that big at all but Chooch and I would have been lost, literally, without our maps. Except that later that night, we had our maps and still got lost, literally, when Henry was naïve enough to think we could handle finding a bathroom on our own. Yeah, good one, Henry.
After Chooch and I went on a ride called Fandango and he continually cried YOLO instead of POLO when the ride operator wanted us to play Marco Polo, I decided it was time to break for food before I lost consciousness or murdered some nearby campers. Whichever came first. So Henry got in line to procure food for us (pierogies and potato pancakes!) while Chooch and I went to find somewhere “nearby” to sit but apparently it wasn’t near enough for Henry, who had a hard time finding us. MAYBE IT WAS INTENTIONAL, HENRY.
We took pictures of ourselves while sitting next to two scarecrows who were apparently on break. Remember when we all carried around 35mm film cameras and practically no one took selfies because what a goddamn waste of film? Those were the days.
Then Henry pouted because he didn’t want anything from the place Chooch and I chose to get food from, like he wasn’t grazing the entire time Chooch and I were on the rides. No one’s crying for you, Henry.
CHOOCH: While we were in line for the Black Diamond, daddy was creeping on us and everybody else. He went on the side of the Black Diamond to look at the eagles, I guess. That’s what he said. Nobody else had a group of two and they needed a group of two for the coaster, and we were the only ones that had two and we got to line jump and it was so awkward. But I was happy because we actually got to go on quickly.
CHOOCH: This lady was eating an apple and it was so awkward because she was creeping on people and I was laughing.
I only took this picture because I’m jealous of people who can eat apples without cutting them up first. SORRY THAT I WASN’T RAISED ON A FARM!!!!
I know, it sucks to be at an amusement park!