Dorney Park - 8/29/2008

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Carrie M.'s avatar
On Friday I visited Dorney Park for the first time. I bought a Platinum Pass this year and Dorney was on my list of parks to visit for the summer. It was raining pretty hard when I was getting ready to leave, so I almost bagged the idea. But with only a few days left in the regular season, I knew it was now or never and I decided to make the drive. I was glad I did since I drove out of the rain about half way there.

The park is extremely easy to find. As I rounded a bend on 78 all of sudden there it was. I felt the excitement as it came into view. Dorney looks really impressive from the highway.

I had no problem using my Platinum Pass at the parking station or at the front gate. Easy as pie. I was a little worried that I wouldn’t be able to find my car at the end of the day because the section signs are kind of small, but it all worked out. The lot isn’t that big.

I entered the park and fell in love right away. It is quite the kid brother/sister of Cedar Point. It is such a cute little park.

The first thing I noticed was the directional signs for Talon. Given the rain clouds above and the fact that I figured what I drove out of on the way would be coming this way soon, I wanted to get to the coasters as quickly as I could.

I headed over to Talon and was quite pleased to see it was a walk-on. I rode in the back and absolutely loved it. Besides how smooth and quick it is, I loved that there were messages for me to read on the way up the lift hill… “Going up”… “No turning back now”… “Getting closer”… “Almost there”… and last but not least, “Good bye” when I got to the top. I know I’m a dork, but I eat that stuff up!

Anyway, I could have ridden it over and over, but I knew I needed to get to the rest while I still could. So I headed over to Hydra. I couldn’t wait to ride Hydra. It was my first floorless coaster. I rode in the third seat in the front row. While it was completely cool to be able to see into the barrel roll from the station, I don’t know if there was anything else that I could say about it. It was rackety and rough. I gave it a try from the front and back rows and neither really suited me. I will say that when you ride in the front middle, the front of the train sticks out and you can touch it with your foot. That messed with my head a bit as I was tricking myself into thinking that I was touching the track. Again, I know I’m a dork.

From there I headed down to Thunderhawk and Steel Force. Thunderhawk was a nice little woodie. I actually think it was my longest wait as there were a lot of families in line. Every park needs a coaster like that really. Steel Force was fun, except it had started to rain while I was in line. I rode in the front and my face got pelted with rain drops. It hurt!

So after that I headed over to Laser, but it was just closing due to the rain. It was just as well, because when I doubled back to it after the shower stopped, it was just opening back up and I was second in line. I was glad, too, because after I rode it I knew I would have been angry about waiting any amount of time for it. The loops were fun enough, but the helix killed me. Talk about inertia.

So the last on my list was Voodoo. I know Voodoo isn’t new, but I had never ridden it as Steel Venom. I don’t want to say that the impulse coasters scare me. Let’s just say I respect them. I have only ever ridden Wicked Twister, but I really do adore it, so I knew I had to give Voodoo a try. Wow. I loved it. I rode the second car from the back and climbing up the back tower was awesome. On the second trip up I was expecting to do the customary pause and free fall, but not on Voodoo. Voodoo grabs you by the back of the collar and says, “Where do you think you’re going? You can go when I say you can go…ok, you can go.” The pause isn’t long, but it certainly grabbed my attention. I loved it.

After that, I grabbed a bite to eat and just sat and people watched. I soaked up the atmosphere a bit. After hearing people talk about Dorney, I was expecting to see a barren, concrete-laden park. I’m thinking those who are saying that aren’t paying enough attention. It is really cute and full of atmosphere.

Unfortunately it started to rain again at this point. I decided to take a ride on Zephyr to get out of the rain. I crawled into the train with cars that look a little like jail cells and off we went. It was a nice trip around the park, but there wasn’t that much to look at from the train.

It was still raining after the ride and it was starting to get harder. It didn’t look to me like it was going to stop this time. I was surprised to see most of the coasters still running, though. I think only Laser closed. I headed over for one more lap on Talon as it ended up being my favorite coaster at the park. When we headed up the lift, a steady stream of collected rain poured off the car in front of me and landed right in my crotch area. I thought, “Well that’s pleasant.” I was soaked anyway, though, so it didn’t much matter.

I decided to call the game after that on account of rain and headed for home. All in all, it was a great day. Most everything was a walk-on and I only waited when I wanted the front or back of the coasters. My only regret would be that I didn’t visit this park more often during the summer.

"If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins." --- Benjamin Franklin

Good to hear all the coasters run in the rain now. I had thought Dorney stopped running them in the rain after the incident on Magnum last year. Did they switch to 1 train operations on Steel Force, Talon and Hydra during the rain?
Carrie M.'s avatar
When the heavier rain began, Talon did reduce to one train operation. I don't know what they did with Steel Force and Hydra.

"If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins." --- Benjamin Franklin

Jeff's avatar
I don't know why people diss Dorney, or why it being "little Cedar Point" is a bad thing. I've only been there once, but I really liked it. I hoped to get out there again this year, but sadly it didn't happen.

Glad you liked it!

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog

Dorney is always on my must visit every year list. Even though I am one who does think they have ruined some of the charm of the park. I miss the trees that have been removed from some midways. They provided much needed shade in some places of the park.

I love your quote about Voodoo. I love the pause on the backward spike in the last 3 rows. It's just a moment of that coaster that defines the ride for me.

Watch the tram car please....
Carrie M.'s avatar

Granted I have no basis for comparison since this was my first visit, I thought there was a lot of leafy goodness in the park. Particularly when you head down the hill towards Steel Force and Thunderhawk.

I'm glad you liked my quote. :)

"If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins." --- Benjamin Franklin

Lord Gonchar's avatar

This year was my first trip back since '05 and that visit in '05 was my first since the 2003 season.

In other words, I've only been to the park twice since the end of the 2003 season and I was flat out surprised at how grown in the park has become. Really, the concrete jungle complaints don't apply anymore if you ask me.

Besides, I agree with Jeff, I really like Dorney. I think it's totally underrated and it's one of my favorite parks.

It's not the bottom of the park I think needs trees. It's between Hyrda and Talon and over to the main gate from there past Coasters. Get in that area during a hot summer day for too long and you'll be running down the hill for some cover.

Watch the tram car please....

Yeah, the area between Hydra and Talon could do with a little more "scenery', but other than that, the park really isn't too bad with the trees. Plus, this park used to have quite a bit of trash laying around, but they've really cleaned up in the years past.

Carrie, I'm so bummed that you didn't get a longer visit, but isn't it great to ride everything and not worry about missing something? Even on a sunny day, Dorney's really only crowded on summer weekends, not so much once the summer's over. I really have to get out there again before the end of the season.

The first time I rode Talon, I remember seeing those signs and BUGGING out. I had to that point only ridden Batman the Ride at Great Adventure, and BTR had been my first suspended coaster. BTR scared the bejesus out of me and made me a little sick through the drop, so seeing those signs on Talon made me want to cry for my mommy. LOL How do you feel about Talon versus Raptor?

Sorry that Hydra was your first floorless though. :( Don't judge all by this one. It wasn't always like that. I've heard all sorts of rumors about that particular section of land sinking, so perhaps the coaster has gotten rougher as a result? I don't know.

I love Voodoo as well, although I prefer Wicked Twister much more. The holding brake on Voodoo unnerves me to the point almost that I don't like it. Did that even make sense? LOL

Did you try the taco stand by Hydra? :)

I really wish I could have gone with you that day, even if it rained. Next time? Next year? I always get a pass, so lemmee know! :)

"Look at us spinning out in the madness of a roller coaster" - Dave Matthews Band

Carrie M.'s avatar

I wasn't nervous about Talon at all, but I really adore inverted coasters. That's probably why I rode it more than the others. :)

I don't have a vote in a Raptor vs Talon debate. They both have their charms. I like the way Raptor swings you out over the midway for the first drop. I like the quick turns and drops on Talon.

Honestly, if The Great Bear were a little longer, I think it would be a contender, too. I just love those inverted coasters!

I actually did not get any tacos. :( But I did see the stand. Maybe next time.

Don't get me wrong, I would ride another floorless if I get the chance. I was just disappointed in Hydra after being so excited to ride it.

I definitely think another trip to Dorney will be in my future. Maybe there will be more trees next year. ;)

"If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins." --- Benjamin Franklin

I doubt that Dorney will get more trees. I could be wrong, but it seems to me that the layout of the park is pretty much set for a while. I'm glad you found that walkway from Steel Force to Thunderhawk though. I think that is easily the prettiest part of the park. Charming, really. :)

"Look at us spinning out in the madness of a roller coaster" - Dave Matthews Band

KnoebelsGrandCarousel's avatar

Although I miss Dorney the way it used to be and the one-of-a-kind rides they had, I do like the park the way it is now.
It is a nice combination of old and new. There are a lot of rides left from the pre-CF days that I don't think many people realize.
Also, I like the signs that they have around the park denoting the old rides that used to be there, therefore preserving some of the history of the park.

Carrie M.'s avatar

Really? Where are the signs? I'm sorry to say that I think I missed them. It would have been nice to see as I didn't know much about Dorney prior to when CF bought it.

"If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins." --- Benjamin Franklin

I never noticed the signs before either, and I've been living by the park and going there since I was about 5. I'll have to look around for them!

"Look at us spinning out in the madness of a roller coaster" - Dave Matthews Band

There is one near White Water Landing, there is one near the Zephyr and Whip area. They are all over the place. Then in a few weeks they bring out the graveyard of old rides near the tilt a whirl that has tombstones for a lot of the rides no longer at the park and a Hercules car.

KnoebelsGrandCarousel's avatar

There are five sings that I know of.

The 1st sign near the Zephyr that YoshiFan mentioned faces Thunderhawk and shows "Journey to the Center of the Earth." It was a dark ride/log chute. This is the most sentimental one to me as I absolutely loved that ride. When I first saw this sign last year I stopped dead in my tracks on the midway, much to the dismay of people behind me. The sign depicts what the area around Thunderhawk used to look like. There was a building that housed Journey, the old bumper cars, and the entrance to Thunderhawk. Thunderhawk used to have a tunnel in the beginning because it started out inside this building. You can tell there used to be a tunnel there as the beginning of the ride is still in a trough. What I wouldn't give to have that tunnel back.

The 2nd sign is actually on the Whip building dedicated to the Whip itself. It is on the side of the builiding near the 3-point-shoot-out. I believe the sign says something like it is dedicated to the Whip because it is the oldest ride in the park dating back to 1920.

The 3rd sign is right by the entrance to White Water Landing as YoshiFan mentioned but I can't remember what ride/attraction it is for. It was for something before my time. Maybe someone else knows what ride what this sign is for?

The 4th sign is near the Sea Dragon going up the hill towards the Chance Carousel and Ferris Wheel. This sign is dedicated to the Flying Dutchman roller coaster that sat where the Ferris Wheel is today.

The 5th sign I just discovered this year. It is in the Tot Spot. It faces the creek and Revolution. This sign denotes a pool that used to be there in the 1920's. I didn't even know Dorney had a pool before WWK!

There could be more even more signs but they are the ones that I know of.

Once I discovered the signs last year, I looked around Dominator for about an hour for a sign dedicated to Meteorite. Another ride I loved as a kid. Sadly, I didn't find one. Meteorite was an indoor cuddle-up with strobe lights and fog. The building was pretty cool as it was supposed to be an iceberg and had a polar bear and penguins on it.

Dorney pre-CF was really, really, really good at dark rides. Carrie M., and anyone else who is interested, here is a nice site dedicated to old Dorney rides, particularly dark rides.

I loved Journey (the ride) and Whacky Shack. I much prefer that type of dark ride to the interactive shoot at things they're making today.

I don't know . . . I do love the nostalgic element of some of those rides. And it is pretty cool to be on a ride that repeatedly casts you into pitch black darkness. But some of those new-fangled rides are awfully fun and interesting to watch, even if you don't 'interact'.

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Carrie M.'s avatar

Thanks for the link, KGC. I'll be sure and take a look. And next time I visit the park, I'll look for those signs, too.

"If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins." --- Benjamin Franklin

KnoebelsGrandCarousel's avatar

The shoot-em-up rides I think are more akin to laser tag than to a traditional dark ride. They have their place, but I'll take a traditional ride any day.

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