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The first clue was a Facebook posting, asking if Black Diamond would be open during Phoenix Phall Phunfest. The response was "maybe." Later, another post indicated there would be a surprise awaiting attendees of the annual event. And a subsequent post contained a video showing nothing but a black screen, accompanied by the coal miner song "Sixteen Tons." The video ended with the word "Surprise."

On Saturday, October 8, there were test runs of Black Diamond with park owner Dick Knoebel in the front seat. The first attempt resulted in a rollback when the two-car train failed to engage the lift chain. After several additional runs, he returned to the station and gave the 'thumbs up' sign, and Black Diamond's queue opened to a long line of eager guests. Several of those guests had begun waiting as early as 11 a.m. for the early-afternoon opening, which occured around 2 p.m. Wait times over the weekend frequently exceeded an hour.

The ride is several minutes long, and the themeing matches (some say even exceeds) that of some of the big theme parks. There is a lot to see inside, and it may take several rides to take in all of the stunts and props.

Knoebels has another winner on its hands, and is to be highly commended for rescuing the former Golden Nugget from Wildwood, New Jersey. Black Diamond is completely enclosed, unlike its indoor/outdoor predecessor. While the ocean location has been changed to a wooded setting, it is still a roller coaster/dark ride experience not to be missed.


Photo by Rus Ozana. View full-sized image.
Photo by Rus Ozana. View full-sized image.
Photo by Rus Ozana. View full-sized image.
Photo by Rus Ozana. View full-sized image.
* Lee Ann Draud
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* Rus Ozana
ACE News Now Editor

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