Dorney 5/12/07

Associated parks:

Had a good first trip to Dorney yesterday. Arrived at opening, stayed til the coasters were shut down for rain around 8:30. I was glad to see that Dorney had mostly short, fast-moving lines as mentioned in other trip reports. Most seats other than the front were just a train or two wait a lot of times. Everything was running two trains except Thunderhawk and Laser. We got much more than our money's worth in rides, even with the rain.

Wild Mouse: Maurer-Sohne, looks like a mirror image of the Mack ride I built the Faller model of last winter but has no tunnel. Also has spiral stairs rather than ladders, but other than that the structural steel looked very familiar :) A consistently slower line due to lack of capacity. Nice artwork on the cars. Braked a more than Hershey's, which has little or no braking, but still good. It was accepting riders by the time we got into the park, while the other coasters were all still testing.

Talon: B&M inverted. Great ride, very smooth. The first two elements are about the same as Hershey's Great Bear, but the rest of the track is much more interesting. The only thing GB has going for it is the roar, which is absent here. The new on-ride video system was only working for half the seats, also the cameras for the front row are mounted much higher than those for the other rows and so give a less interesting view. At one point a train was stopped on the lift, giving a jolt to the front of the station. I thought I heard someone yelling about a cell phone but I'm not sure.

Hydra: B&M floorless. On our first ride, the girl sitting next to me warned me that she screamed a lot so she hoped I didn't go deaf in my left ear. Very courteous, I thought. Then we left the station, and on the JoJo roll her cell phone fell from wherever she was carrying it and smashed on the rocks. She spent the rest of the ride swearing about it so much that she forgot to scream. When we got back to the station, she told one of the ops about it and they told her to come back at closing. She didn't like that, so she went to one of the other ops and got told the same thing. She swore all the way down the ramp, at which point we went in opposite directions. Every steel coaster should start with a roll like this to clean out all the junk before it gets up to speed :) As for the ride itself, it seemed to be over with much faster than Talon, I don't know why because the length and speed aren't much different. It wasn't as smooth as Talon, but wasn't bad either. I thought it started to develop a headbanging problem in the middle of the afternoon when it was getting warm, but it was better later and I decided that maybe the ride was OK and I was getting dehydrated. My girlfriend didn't notice any excessive rattling. In any case, I thought it was better keeping my head off of the headrest than against it. I rode the back row a few times since this isn't an inverted coaster and wouldn't block my view, and it was fun watching the train moving through the curves. The forces also seemed to be better in the back.

Thunderhawk: Schmeck/PTC modified out&back. Normally when I see trip reports accusing a wood coaster that's still in operation of being rough, I figure they're just not wood people. OK, this one was rough. I didn't mind it too much in the first and third seats, but the back seat required serious defensive riding, and my girlfriend bruised her ribs in that seat even though my side of the car was getting most of the crunching. I was surprised at how many airtime moments there were since this coaster is significantly smaller and slower than the Hershey Comet and that ride has hardly any airtime at all. But the thing that really annoyed me was the brakes. They were only running one train and there was a trim brake before the final bunny hops, but the main brakes were still the roughest I've ever experienced. Forget Schwarzkopf, forget Vekoma, this was ridiculous. This ride seriously needs a sign warning everyone to brace for the stop! It's also the only wood coaster I've been on that actually needs its seatbelts, but not to keep you in the car, to keep you from injuring yourself on the lap bar. I had to wait for one train stopped on the lift here too, I don't know what the problem was.

Steel Force: Morgan out&back w/helix. Fantastic ride, floater airtime everywhere, strong enough that the retracting seatbelts don't detract from the experience at all. Despite this, one train did get stopped on the lift because someone unfastened his seat belt, or so we were told. He wasn't taken off the ride though. This was the second time we saw a train stopped on this one, but I don't know what the cause was the first time. Two trains were running, the third train was nowhere in sight but the wait times were still reasonable. In fact, there were a lot of half-empty trains going for quite a while after opening.

Laser: Schwarzkopf. This portable ride is still set up on blocks. It packs a lot of turns into a small space and I don't know where the name comes from because it's anything but straight. A nice solid fun double-looper, but over very fast despite all the turns. Note to future riders: this ride has no bag drop, and you're not allowed to leave anything on the tiny platform even during one-train operation. (Does this ever even run both trains? I can hardly see how there'd be time or space.) Rumors that it would be getting magnetic brakes were false, but it doesn't need them.

The rest of the park:

Water rides: The shoot-the-chutes was running all day and enough people were riding it to fill one boat, even in the evening when it got cool. The rapids raft ride seemed to be running empty boats every time I looked, but it wasn't really visible from any of the coasters so I don't know whether anyone rode at any point. The log flume spent a good part of the day down and a good part of the rest of the time running empty boats, but I did finally see people riding late.

Security: Weren't hanging out at the entrance bothering innocent people with bag searches. Take note, Hershey! Were hanging around the rides keeping an eye on the lines even though most of the queue areas weren't in use. Take note, Hershey! (On the down side, what was hanging out at the entrance was a mob of aggressive photographers.)

Cleanliness: Trash cans everywhere, staff constantly sweeping up even tiny bits of dropped food and whatnot. Bathrooms mostly clean, some graffiti but at least an attempt had been made to clean it.

If it wasn't for Storm Runner and the two GCI coasters, there'd be no reason to go to Hershey. All the steel coasters here are so much better.

Nice TR.

Laser is strange all around with the policies. I don't understand why they make you take stuff with you either. On Friday, they made someone take their hat with them but let them leave a basketball. Other times I have seen them make people take their stuffed animal prizes with them. And the assigned seating is annoying as well. In my 20+ visits in the past year and a half I have never seen it run 2 trains probably because the 2nd train can't enter the station until the 1st clears the lift so the extra train would just be stuck on the brake run and it wouldn't help capacity much.

I also agree about Thunderhawk. I always seem to get banged up on that ride either with my knees or back.

Good TR. I'll be there this Saturday. :)

Knoebels- 4/28

ha ha ha ha. I loved your comment about the jojo roll. I totally agree.

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