Dorney Park (7/20/2007)

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For whatever reason, while it is only two hours away, it seems like I get to Dorney Park only on odd number years… 2001, 2003, 2005 and now 2007. We had plans for just Chele and me to go, but then decided to take our niece Dakota (8yrs old) along. Then plans changed and Chele’s sister April and our other niece Kyliegh (3 yrs old) were going long as well. By the time we left for the park on Noon at Friday we had to take two cars because by this time April’s husband Doug was also going along. What started out as a quick trip with only two adults turned into an “all day” affair with 4 adults and two kids.

After arriving and organizing all of our stuff into the stroller (technically for Kyliegh, but a good way to carry all of our stuff) we were entering the park around 3pm.

Having been there more than anyone else in our group, they asked me where to start. Since they were impressed by seeing the lift hill of Steel Force from out side of the park, and since this is the farthest part of the park from the front gate, I suggested we begin there.

While April watched Kyliegh (who was too small for the height requirement), the rest of us climbed aboard. With about 50 feet or so to go on the lift hill, Dakota comments “I think I’m gong to be sick.” Chele, who was sitting next to her said, “Just make you turn your head away from me if you do.” We were seated in the 2nd and 3rd seats so we got that hang time effect at the crest of the lift hill as the rest of the train cleared. Then we dropped. By the 2nd hill Dakota was laughing and by the end of the ride she was ready to ride again so we got in line (there wasn’t one!) for a re-ride (with Chele watching the stroller and Kyliegh as April took her first ride). Say what you want about Steel Force… I like this ride. It might not be the biggest or scariest or most intense, but I think it is fun. The air on the bunny hops at the end was great as always. It’s a very deceiving coaster… it looks very intimidating… but it’s so smooth and those trains are so comfortable that it is a very re-ridable coaster.

Walking toward Laser, Dakota wanted to ride Revolution, but didn’t want to ride by her self… so I got in line with her. Oooops. Ride ops were testing the restraints and the green light would not go on for mine…. No ride for me. So Dakota had to ride by herself. She did and was laughing the whole time.

Lazer was next. Small and compact, even with its two loops, it doesn’t look like much. But I warned them. So while Chele looked to the girls as they rode the kiddie rides by the creek near by, April, Doug and I boarded Laser. With no real chance to pick seats, we lucked out and got seats 1 and 2. And they soon realized what I was talking about when I warned them of this coaster… All three of us felt like were graying out on the 2nd loops, and we all were staggering like we were drunk when we were coming off of it. One ride was enough.

By the time we caught up with Chele and the girls, they called for me because Kyliegh was too short to ride the Dragon Coaster by herself. While Dakota was tall enough, she was still too short to qualify as an “adult rider” to go with Kyliegh… so I found myself riding this kiddie. Okay, this little thing surprised me. It’s fast for its size and it does tend to throw you from side to side. I was doing my best not to smash Kyliegh up against the side of the car when it threw me from left to right. I didn’t see her face, but everyone else said that she looked scared to death on this thing. I didn’t realize they ran it through the circuit four times!

Then it was on to the Monster. You don’t see these too often anymore… so I Dakota and I rode it. I must be getting old! While it was spinny and fun, I thought my neck and shoulders were going to break from the strong G-s that it had. I never minded that when I was a kid!

Lunch/dinner time! Not sure the name of the place… it was the chicken / shrimp / burgers / fries stand near Dominator. The food was good. However, you can complain all you want about Six Flags and their pricing… but Cedar Fair’s pricing of food gave me a much greater case of sticker shock!

On to Thunderhawk… Doug, April, Dakota and me. I always liked this coaster… but it was never one of my favorites. Same can’t be said for April and Dakota who were already saying they wanted to re ride it before we even pulled back into the station. On the second ride, Dakota and I were in seat 3… the Schmeck seat… the ejector seat… I think I am still wearing the imprint of the seat belt from the ejector seat air on the top of the turn around!

Then it was time for Dominator. I don’t know why I ride these things. Towers scare me. Granted, the seats and restraints are not much different than inverted or floorless coasters… it’s just that slow climb to the top and then hanging there for what seem slike 5 hours before you drop. I don’t like heights. These things make me very uneasy. The drop is nothing… I don’t mind that… but just sitting there at the top makes me nervous. The Red side… the launched side… is nothing… Boom… you are launched, you drop… I have no problem with that because you don’t hang at the top for an eternity to see your entire life flash before your eyes… in slow motion!

Anyway… after that, I was feeling kind of woozy… but Hydra was next. The more I ride Hydra, the more I miss Hercules. Okay, so old Hercules was a rough s.o.b… but Hydra is just boring. It’s got that inversion before the lift… but I liked Hercules crazy run from the station to the lift better. The rest of the layout is just bland. And it is bumpy too for a B&M. We rode in the back seat. Doug liked it, April got too dizzy, I was bored.

Realizing that we only had about 1hr 15 min before Wild Water Kingdom closed, we headed over there. I am not that much of a water person, so I found a nice “deck chair” by the smaller of the two wave pools (the one just inside the gate) where Chele and Kyliegh were playing. The rest all took off for the slides. Anyway, they had fun in the water and I had a chance to relax.

When 8pm came Wildwater Kingdom closed so we headed back to the ride side. Doug and I hit Talon next… waited for the front seat. Uh oh! The seat belt ALMOST did not latch for me. Got to exercize. Having never been on an inverted other than Hersheypark’s Great Bear, Talon really surprised Doug. I knew what to expect… he didn’t… and was caught off guard how much more intense it was than the Bear. Personally, for me… Talon and Steel Force is a combination that gets me coming back to Dorney.

It was about 8:45. April said she wanted to re-ride two coasters… Thunderhawk and Steel Force. So, back across the park we went with a stop at the one store in Camp Snoopy first.

The re-ride of Thunderhawk was my surprise of the visit. Not sure if it was atmospheric conditions or just the illusion of night… but this thing really was running wild! Even the annoying trim break before the return to the station seemed to hardly stop the train! After this night ride, Thunderhawk went up a few points in my book.

Finally it was time to end the night on Steel Force. Chele, April, Dakota and I boarded and sat near the front. Just like Thunderhawk, Steel Force seemed to be giving better rides at night time. For the re-ride, April stayed off with Kyliegh (took her to the kiddie rides near Lazer again), while he rest of us re-rode. This time near the back. Faster over the crest of the hills… Chele and I agree that we both like the front better. It was near closing, but Dakota (who hours before was worried about getting sick on this coaster) said she wanted to ride again. No line, walk onto seats 2 and 3. A great way to end the night. By the time we exited, it was past 10pm and the queue was closed.

We collected April and Kyliegh and headed up the long hill (between the ferriswheel and Sea Dragon) to the entrance and headed back to our cars in the lot.

All in all it was a good day at Dorney. The only down side… geography. That is some hill to climb at the end of a long day! Also, I thought in park pricing was rather high. Oh well… par for the course. On the good side… everything else. Well staffed, clean, well maintained. Capacity was no issue either… while the lines were light, they were STILL running two trains on all coasters (except Lazer).

Doug and April said that they would like to take the girls there sometime and spend much more time in Wild Water Kingdom and then do the rides at night. As for me, After those night rides on Steel Force and Thunderhawk… I’m thinking about returning sometime in September or October just to ride those two again at night!

*** Edited 7/23/2007 3:25:45 PM UTC by SLFAKE***

"Yes... well... VICTORY IS MINE!"
Sounds like you had fun. So even after all these years SF is still pumping out the air. Good hear, and I need to get to Dorney some time.

Timbers crew 08

Good report. Just a heads-up though. During Halloweekends, they usually close Thunderhawk at 6:00 because of the haunted walk through along the walkway between T-hawk and Steel Force. On the other hand, The Force gives fantastic rides in the cool October night air.
I find the food prices somewhat reasonable (for a park) at Dorney. A hamburger and fries for $5.75, a Subway combo for a little over $8 (regular sub, 2 cookies or a bag of chips and a medium soda). It's still too expensive so I generally eat outside of the park either at McDonald's across the street or go to King's Market and get a sandwich, soda and chips for a little under $4.

For comparison, a burger and fries at Johnny Rocket's at Great Adventure is $9.99. I will never eat a meal at Great Adventure with WaWa right near the park though.

I always forget about Thunderhawk, as it’s pretty much the only wood coaster surrounded by steel in PA. I love intense out and backs and the first half of T-hawk might be one of the more intense ones out there. The trim though just kills the 2nd half of the ride for me. I might have to stay for a night ride on it when I visit Dorney again if it’s that out of control.
The kiddy coasters at Dorney did pack a punch at least for me, having never been on them before, when I visited with a TPR friend we did Dragon (which was the only coaster to ever really make me nauseous as I was begging for a left turn SOMEHOW lol) and Woodstock) which tosses you around quite a bit) It's like a kid would feel much better riding something like Steel Force where it's at least more straight track and doesn't toss you around nearly as much. As for Thunderhawk, I find it enjoyable accept that damned last turn!

Glad you had a good time though, Dorney is a great park and can be a real bargain with starlight admission as it seems there are never any lines to be had.

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