Dorney Park 7/10/03

Associated parks:
None

Monday, July 14, 2003 8:36 AM
Rankings on -5 / 5 scale. After a 11 hour drive from Michigan, I arrived in Carlisle, where I'd spend the night before making a 1.5 hour drive to Allentown. Bleh... driving in heavy rain through the mountains in construction surrounded by semi's was almost scarier than the rides themselves :)

Ride over: (+1).

Anyhow, arrived at Dorney as the gates opened. Got in with my MiA pass. Dreary day... misty all morning, overcast afternoon. Hoped it would keep the crowds away, but it turned out to be the first day that week that it wasn't raining outright, so all the tour groups rescheduled for that day. Lower 70's temps kept many people out of waterpark. Ah well. Noticed gobs of kids with summer camp shirts listing amusement parks they'd visit over the course of a month. Sounds like fun! I'd volunteer to chaperone! They were generally well-behaved.

Talon queue was backed up, so headed over to Hercules. Sat in the rain outside the station for a bit, until they finally opened. Watched a pack of hyperactive kids bouncing between lines ("This line's too long... I wanna go on something NOW" :) ).

Hercules: 1st train of day, back row seat. Loved the drop over the water. Rest of the ride was decent, but nothing stands out. Rougher than previous woodies I've been on, but not painful. (-1)

Spotted the caffeine addicts still bouncing between lines as I got off. Wandered around down into the valley. Didn't seen Steel Force trains yet, so continued around the loop. Thunderhawk was down, as was Laser, Little Laser, and Dragon (hey, I was getting desperate by this time).

Finally saw a Steel Force train with peeps on it, so I headed over.

Steel Force: walk on, 2nd row. Love the single-person lapbars. Oddly, I didn't notice the height so much since we were in the valley. First drop into tunnel is fun; helix was a blast... nice head and arm chopper effects with the poles and radio antennae. Lightly trimmed at the midcourse, before bouncing through the bunnies. Miserly little spurts of airtime :(. Took forever to crawl back into the station... probably 1/3 of the entire ride time or more. Felt really disappointed... much better airtime on Shivering Timbers. Total rides for day: 8. (+2)

Picked my bag out of the rubbermaid bargain bins in the station. Watched a guy pick his glasses out of the bottom of the bin from under several backpacks... think he would have been better off wearing them :p.

Headed over to Thunderhawk... still no go, possibly this afternoon. Curled around to Laser. Joy of joy's, they're testing the trains. Waited around for a while, but no luck. Headed back up to Talon.

Talon: Waited for front row. Since only single in line, got to jump ahead of 20 people when there was an open seat. 1 train wait :). At this point, I'm out of words... the ride just blew me away. From the little details like comfortable restraints and signs on the lift ("No turning back", etc, "Goodbye...") to the extremely quiet ride through flawless transitions and smooth pacing, the ride was absolutely fabulous. And this was in the waterladen, heavy air of the day? Wow wow wow. Total rides of day: 14. (+5)

Getting close to lunch, so ate at Coasters Drivein. Decent hamburgs. Glad I carried a pop in my waist pack... typical robbery prices :)

After lunch, went on Talon again, this time in back. Not quite as good as front for sheer terror, but I could concentrate on the ride better, since my acrophobia wasn't glazing my eyes. :p

Headed on down to Laser. By this time it was shortly before noon. Finally started running a single train, but with only the first car full. Hopped in line, which moved slowly.

Laser: back of 1st car. Loved the look and feel of the coaster as we climbed... I assume it was orginally a portable one? Too busy looking at layout to expect the top. Crested the lift, and curled downward towards the loops... first loop, second loop, and then upward and around for the helix, then back around and toward the station. Very fun, fast paced ride, but didn't see why some folks complain of blackouts in the loops... until I rode it later in the day with a fuller train, which was a completely different experience. Total rides: 2. (+3 at time... +5 later)

On a side note (rant): When I was getting on the ride, I tossed my pack to the exit side, only to be handed it back by the ride ops. Seems you have to take everything with you. Poor kid in front of me took back his cap and wore it (dummy), losing it shortly after the loops. Throughout the day I saw people reach the front of the line, only to have to leave the queue because of backpacks. Seems like they could have put up a sign warning about it (if there was, it wasn't obvious).

Anyhow, headed back to Steel Force for more laps. Ride was getting a little faster as the day went on, but the hops still weren't cutting it. I assume this was because of the wet, heavy day... Headed back to Laser to try it again.

Laser (Part Duex): By now they are allowing more riders, but still keeping the last 2 cars empty. Rode near the back of the occupied cars. The ride was much, much more forceful and fast... the loops flew by and I seemed to have greyed slightly somewhere during the ride. Anyway, the ride was fantastic, but the full queue and limited single train operation meant a 25 minute wait... still no luck with Thunderhawk (could see a pliers and rags on the top of the hill by Steel Force), so on to Dominator.

Dominator was fun... think my heartrate spiked, as this was the first time I've been on a tower anywhere. Exciting, but too short.

The Whip - heard about this ride on the boards, so felt I couldn't miss it. What fun! You ride in tubs around an oval track, with a whipping effect at the ends, much like turning in waterskiing. Flet like a much older ride... maybe one of the originals from the 20's / 30's? Still fun.

Decided to try Meteor. I'm afraid I suffer from acrophobia unless I have a solid train underneath me, so this was not the smartest choice.

Meteor. Ow. This ride was pure misery. I will never ride it again. I'm skinny/bony and 6'3, and the overhead restraints had a sharp ridge that was perfectly aligned with nerves along my collarbone and ribs. I didn't realize exactly how much you hang against the restraints from watching it on the ground, so between the pain and acrophobia, I was a twiching, unhappy puppy by the time I could get off. What a wimp! :)

Mouse had a long, long line throughout the day. Not worth it to me, so on to Talon. Rode and rerode Talon for the rest of the afternoon. Enjoyed watching the reactions of people around me as they worried in line. Generally a 2-3 train wait until around 3:30, when it started to clear out. Got several more rides in the front and bunch of walk-ons in the back. Probably my second-favorite coaster, after Shivering Timbers.

I don't know if it was the weather or Talon, but after about 10 rides in a row I was getting a little dizzy, so I decided to call it a day.

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Overal thoughts: Very fun, clean park. I'd bet the rides were running slower in the extreme humidity, but Laser and Talon were still a blast. Ride loading generally went fairly smoothly, but most coasters were lacking capacity (1 train on laser, 2 trains on Steel Force) except for Talon. I can't say enough about Talon... loading was fast and simple, ride was comfy yet fun; extremely enjoyable throughout.

Unfortunately, I do have one complaint about the park. With one or two exceptions, the ride ops were boring. No smiles, no words of welcome. Most were good about checking restraints, although a few (who continually talked in some foreign language throughout) were a little lazy. I generally felt safe, but not necessarily welcomed with open arms. Other than on the flat rides, the only words I heard all day were recorded. Between dispatches, ops would yawn and stare blankly across the park. In their defense, it was a grey and gloomy day, so maybe they were just tired.

Would I go again? On a clear, sunny day, yes! On another wet but crowded day, I might give some thought about backtracking and hit some other park like Hershey or CP; anyway, it was still a lot of fun.

(edit... Dragon, not Flying Dutchman.)
*** This post was edited by Strijder 7/14/2003 12:37:48 PM ***

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Monday, July 14, 2003 8:47 AM
We were there on the 10th from about 7:30pm to close. The park was dead. It must've cleared out a bit. There were only two or three busses left in the parking lot. Steel Force and Talon running half empty trains. Got a solo ride on Hercules.

If you missed a late day ride on Talon, it's worth coming back for. That thing just seems to speed up as the sun goes down. It was simply hauling a$$ the night of the 10th. The most air I've caught on it yet, I think. (that drop into the end where they take the onride pic)

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www.coasterimage.com
Dorney Park Visits in 2003: 13

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Monday, July 14, 2003 8:54 AM
I'm glad you enjoyed Laser and Talon. They are both some of my favorite looping roller coasters due to their smoothness and speed. I can't believe Thunderhawk didn't open at all! It usually is always open whenever I go. As for the employees, they're usually friendly on Mondays, but I guess because of the weather they were very bored.
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Monday, July 14, 2003 9:03 AM
Yeah, I thought Dorneys ride operators were extremely friendly, only beaten by those at BGW. Your right about Talon, it's an awesome ride. Glad you had a good time.

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"If we knew how safe roller coasters were, we'd lose their thrill" - Daniel Keller

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Monday, July 14, 2003 9:21 AM
Wow... guess I should have stayed later. There were around 30 buses in the parking lot at noon, and the waterpark was fairly empty.
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