Dorney Park 5/15/09

Associated parks:

Since Friday's in May usually mean lots of school groups I decided to get to the park later in the day, around 5:30.

The new season pass processing is much faster than the old system and more stations were there. 8 versus I think 4 or 5 with the old system (and usually only 2 or 3 were used). It only took about 10 minutes total.

There were still a lot of school busses in the lot and a lot of people in line waiting to buy tickets, I guess because of the $19.99 after 5 admission price.

First ride was Talon, I saw a bunch of people leaving the line so I figured it must be a long wait. The line was maybe 30 feet past the stairs. The dispatches were faster than I have ever seen, the train was being dispatched right when the other train hit the brake run so the wait was only 10 minutes.

Hydra had about a 5 minute wait, also fast dispatches. Dominator had a long line for the Turbo Drop side but the Space Shot side was only a 2 cycle wait. Not that exciting anymore. Thundercreek Mountain had about a 10 minute wait, soaking as usual.

Thunderhawk had 2 trains running and it was a 1 train wait. It seemed to be running better this year.

Steel Force's line was down the stairs but with 2 trains running and a fast crew, it was about 10 minutes. Voodoo had the longest line I have ever seen for it, the line was into the first switchback. I estimated it to be 20+ minutes so I skipped it today. The new cubbies for Steel Force are great. It looked good how each car has it own set of cubbies and then each row of each car has its own section and then a metal door is slid over that train's cubbies while it is out of the station.

The spot where Laser was looks strange without it there. It's just an empty space fenced in.

Road Rally was only running 4 cars. I hope it is just because it is early in the season but I think it ran 4 and 5 cars all of last season so I am not expecting a lot more cars to be run. Even though only 20 people or so were in line, it was easily a 25+ minute wait because of only 4 cars running.

In the arcade, they have Voodoo plastic skull shaped cups for only 50 tickets. I think they were the refillable cups leftover from last year. Also new this year is Guitar Hero arcade but it is $2.00 to play! I didn't play it but I hope you get more than 1 song like at Great Adventure where it is $1.00 for 1 song.

The new shooting gallery where the giant skill cranes are is really nice looking. It keeps track of your accuracy and some of the targets even spray mist at you when you hit them.

Every ride appeared to be open which was good.

Overall it was an ok trip, I guess Dorney just isn't as much fun to me as it used to be probably because I have been there so many times over the past few years.

Ride Count:
Talon - 3
Hydra - 1
Steel Force - 2
Thunderhawk - 2
Dominator Red - 1
Thunder Creek Mountain - 1

Yosh, I think it's probably a combination of being there so often and that you go to Great Adventure so many times...Dorney may have a better invert, and Steel Force is great, but Great Adventure does seem to take away from the Dorney experience.

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

phoenixphan :-)'s avatar

I disagree, I have been to both parks equal times. For me Dorney still wins hands down because it still has more charm than Great Adventure. Oh no... no the "c" word! LOL. But Dorney also has a solid coaster lineup, and with minimal down time on all the attractions.

Real men ride wood... coasters that is!

Ah, phoenixphan, I think you've never been to Dorney on a day like I had last week where Steel Force got stuck on the lift hill and Hydra shut down because the restraints wouldn't open up. I DO agree that Great Adventure does not have the same amount of charm, but you can't ignore their coaster lineup OR the nice easy flat walking surface throughout the park. LOL

However, the most well-rounded park in the area is NEITHER of these. It's Hershey. :) Decent coaster lineup, fair amount of flat rides, and plenty of charm. Plus, you can't help but love the big chocolate bars walking around and the travelling party/band.

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

KnoebelsGrandCarousel's avatar

I agree with phoenixphan on this. I would take Dorney any day as they offer a complete park and it is not a one-trick pony like GAdv. Yeah, GAdv has great coasters, but not much else. For this reason, I usually only visit GAdv once or twice a year. I hate the unbalance of rides. Dorney gives me solid coasters, a good amount of flats, and a waterpark included with admission.

I have to also agree with Phoenix on this. Charm is what makes a park, i happen to like parks such as Busch Gardens Europe and Holiday World over a Cedar Point or a Kings Island.

Coasters do not make the park, the entire experience does. Dorney certainly is not the most flat park in the world, but it still has its nice parts. Ala the pond and the trees down the hill. I would rather go to a park that has charm and helps my wallet its worth it. There are some things that parks just don't have whether it be an astethic beauty or theming, but yeah i would have to agree you just don't beat what some parks offer outside of rides.

Resident Arrow Dynamics Whore

Jeff's avatar

Holy crap, are people suggesting that Dorney has charm? Has the enthusiast world gone crazy? :)

Was there last weekend, enjoyed it. First time in eight years, and I thought the park looked outstanding.

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog

ApolloAndy's avatar

Wow. I think I'd take GAdv. over Dorney personally. I agree that it is a pretty single minded park, but what it does it does outstandingly. There aren't many parks that can boast a better collection of coasters than GAdv's.

Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

Lord Gonchar's avatar

They're only an hour and a half apart. I never visit one without stopping by the other. Why choose when you can have both? :)

Acoustic Viscosity's avatar

Dorney wins hands down. Before I lived out here, I didn't care much for it, but now that it's my local park, I love it. Talon and Steel Force are fantastic rides. I've never had a bad time there. On the other hand, Great Adventure always puts me in a bad mood. I've never had a "great" day there in all of the times I've visited over the years. I've visited twice this season and have little desire to go back, but I'll probably go with Gator when he visits. Hopefully third time's a charm, but I'm not counting on it.

AV Matt
Long live the Big Bad Wolf

Yosi - - - > I hope you don't mind if I add my report as part of your thread...

I attended a huge Music In The Parks Event at Dorney this past Friday (May 29) with one of my schools and again the park was going to be packed - as oodles of yellow and upper class tanks were filling the expanded bus parking area.

95 percent of everyone was wearing various types of band / chorus / orchestra T shirt. I did a very long report of Music In The Parks last year, so in order to save time - I'll get to the basics...

1 - The idea of Music in the Parks (and they have thier own web site) is a GOLDMINE for the parks. Instead of not opening up, they are getting mobbed with very well-chaperoned throngs of kids. In this tough economy, our group paid over 80 bucks per child. There was about 1 adult for every three children and they had to pay too. The 83 bucks only paid for the park and the bus. Food was either bring your own or buy at the park. I wonder how many Park Big Shots are on the Music In The parks Board.

2 - The groups who play and are judged at one location are not judged against the other locaction. Their award ceremones are an hour apart. Also elementary schools do not compete against junior high schools and high school groups are also different categories. The divisions split again by school size. What this means is that if you are the only "all girls" high school chorus - you will win your division. You have to. If you have a lot of kids and you are a junior high will win as will the junio rhigh school with fewer kids. I'm sure Dorney doesn't mind springing for 40 trophies if they are getting 80 bucks a head. There are ratings of participant, fair, good, excelllent and superior. The guy represetning music in the parks mentioned in the first judging that "No group merited the participant or fair level." (Becasue we want them to pay for next year's trip and we can't send them home too unhappy).

3 - Bottom Line: If there is a Music In The Parks event at Dorney, (or anywhere else I would imagine) GO ANYWAY - BUT GO LATER. Most of the yellow tanks start pulling out right after the judging which means from 6:30 - 10:00 PM the park is a credit W-house!

Other things of note:

1 - Bathrooms - Very Clean - wet floors from mopping (Not the other thing!)

2 - Security - Polite - Noticable - Armed (Overkill for Friday)

3 - Food - DREADFUL - Game Day Grill is where the teachers traditionally meet for a pre-awards dinner. The burgers & service should have been as good as the conversation. If I was alone I would have done something else.

Subway - There has to be a better way. It took 25 minutes to get a sandwich and a drink. Once I made it to the sandwich girl...there was a bottleneck by the condiment station girl...then another by the drink and payment guy.

ON THE OTHER looked like you could bring in your own stuff. Bags were inspected, but food / drinks were not contraband. This is fair as it is up to the consumer to take things into his / her own hands if they don't like the offereings or the wait.

4 - Single Rider Policy - We have a policy at school that we can not touch a child for any reason. This means - to me - we can't sit next to them on rides. That's fair. But you no longer can ride the Ferris Wheel or the Scambler alone. That's unfair!

5 - Lazer - Yes it's gone. Yes there is a big ugly space in its place. It took away from the look of the rest of hte park.

6 - Snoopy Show - As you walk into the park it is obvious that construction is going on for the Snoopy Show. Once it's done - it will look nice.

7 - First Aid. In a quiet small building I went in and asked for a little bit of sun screen. I was not given any. Instead I was directed where to go to buy a small tube for eleven bucks. That left a bad taste in my mouth. (The experience - not the sun screen I didn't buy!) (Two points for Holiday World!)

Personal Note -

I was very sick last Friday. (I still am.) I probably had a fever and a nasty cough. Most of the day I sat on a bench (in the shade) and fell asleep - which was good because I was not in charge of a group. There are some trips that are just not going to be fun and being sick is a good reason for that. I went on a total of three rides.

Steel Force - Nice but not spectacular. 10 minute wait for the front car at the start of the day. (It would later be much longer). They have a very fair locker stoarage system at the left of the platform with large cargo bins to hold your stuff. The girl on the mic was too loud to hear her announcements. I think I like Nitro better, but for what it was a nice ride.

Whip - SLOW LOADER. We only went around 2 1/2 times. I thought he was stopping to let someone get off. Apparently it was all of us.

Cedar Creek Train - It's slow, it's a train, you look silly when people see you on it and you bang your head on the roof when you get back up.

The children had a great day! Here's to next year's visit.

Thanks again Yosi!

Here's To Shorter Lines & Longer Trip Reports!

Richie Reflux said:

4 - Single Rider Policy - We have a policy at school that we can not touch a child for any reason. This means - to me - we can't sit next to them on rides. That's fair. But you no longer can ride the Ferris Wheel or the Scambler alone. That's unfair!

Kind of a sad situation when everyone has to be treated like a potential molester or a potential jumper.

I don't totally get the Scrambler though. Is the idea to prevent back and forth movement on the seat as much as possible? Or to prevent "incorrect" riding position? Seems to me that two 10-12 year-olds could more easily get their legs from beneath the bar if they wanted to than one adult.

Glad you had sort of a good time anyway, RR.

The no single rider rule for the ferris wheel is from Chance, Hershey has the same rule.

The scrambler rule is new this year I guess. I know Eli Bridge does not reccomend allowing single riders unless seatbelts have been installed and since Dorney does have seatbelts I don't know why they changed it.

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