After seven years, the Flying Turns ride at Knoebels Amusement Resort in Elysburg, Pennsylvania finally opened. Long wait times and a hefty price of $3 a ride (no hand stamps accepted) haven’t stopped throngs of people from patiently waiting for their turn on this unique ride. I am lucky enough to live only a few minutes from Knoebels, so I grabbed my first ride on the Flying Turns in October 2013. But is the ride really worth such a long wait and the price?
In a word, no, but it’s not because the ride itself is bad. A ride on the Flying Turns is fun. It’s hard not to find yourself laughing and shrieking as your train careens around the curving, wooden track. Unlike a roller coaster, you don’t get the extreme g-forces, but instead experience a fast, smooth ride. It has a cute, aeronautical theme and really does live up to its name, providing the sensation of flying. It’s the perfect ride for people who can’t handle the intensity of traditional coasters. However, the one minute ride is depressingly short, especially if you’ve spent an hour waiting in line. The $3 price ties it with the Scenic Skyride as the most expensive ride in the park, and seems a bit extreme for such a short ride. For comparison, it’s only $2.50 to ride the Phoenix or the Twister roller coasters, and those rides are over three minutes long.
Flying Turns is not a roller coaster. There are no tracks. The trains run freely on wheels, which means weight distribution is of utmost importance. Therefore, all riders are weighed before they board. Don’t worry, the weights aren’t displayed and you are weighed with the other occupant of your car. Each car can accommodate a combined weight of 400 pounds, so if you and your ride buddy are over that amount, you will have to ride in different cars. There is a scale in front of the ride entrance you can use to determine if you make the cut. It doesn’t show actual weight, just lights up green or red. Also, choose a ride buddy you are comfortable getting up close and personal with, as one of you will be sitting between the other’s legs, with a single seat belt holding both of you in the car. My husband and I found the seating arrangement a bit uncomfortable. The jolt of the train going up the two lift hills caused me to be thrown back against him, and the seat belt was pulled so tight I couldn’t pull myself forward.
So here’s my advice to anyone seeking a ride on the Flying Turns: go for it if the line is short. It really is a fun and unique ride. It you can get on with a 10 or 20 minute wait, it’s worth the $3 for your first ride on it. I can’t say it’s worthy of repeated rides at that price. However, if that line starts at the entrance or beyond, I don’t recommend wasting your time. It’s an approximate 45 minute wait from the big Flying Turns sign. Attend on a weekday or in the off season to increase your chances of finding the line short. Or wait a year or two for the price to go down and the newness to wear off.