Dorney Park, Allentown, Pennsylvania, USA
The last time I visited Dorney was back in June, for Coasting For Kids, when the size of the crowd was otherwise normal. Yesterday it was so crowded that it took a full 45 minutes just to get in and park – under a bridge, far from the entrance. Traffic was so backed up at the intersection of Lincoln Avenue and Dorney Park Road that cops were out in full force. I asked a staff member who was directing traffic whether there was a special event going on and he said no; he guessed that the reason so many people were flocking to the park is that they didn’t come on the previous Saturday due to the weather forecast. And that’s exactly why I was there.
The interesting thing about Dorney is that no matter how crowded it is, the ride queues are rarely unmanageable, with a few possible exceptions (i.e., water rides). Possessed was a walk-on and Steel Force was almost a walk-on. Unfortunately, re-rides are not permitted, even if no-one is waiting for your row. I honestly didn’t know this until I asked a ride op; he told me that I would have to exit, go around and come back up the steps. Well, my 62-year-old legs do not want to keep going up steps. As much maligned as Great Adventure is, I would have to give that park credit for allowing unlimited re-rides. The ride ops on El Toro have allowed me to stay in the same seat for as many as 7 or 8 consecutive rides, and it’s not because I have the El Toro logo tattooed on one leg; it’s because the policy is more liberal than Dorney’s. It’s a tradeoff, like most things. If I don’t like Dorney’s re-ride policy, I like the fact that I don’t have to wait 90 minutes or 120 minutes to get on a coaster the way I do at Great Adventure.
With only several hours to spend at the park, I managed to get in 9 rides: 1 on Possessed, 2 on Steel Force, 3 on Talon, 1 on Hydra, 1 on Thunderhawk and 1 on Hang Time. I don’t often do flat rides – due to issues with motion sickness – but Hang Time looked pretty interesting and as it’s right next to Talon, I decided to give it a go. Up and down motion is OK; circular is not (I got dizzy from riding Revolution on a previous visit). Hang Time was the one surprise of my visit. I actually found this more intense than any coaster in the park, except for the heartline roll on Hydra. As to Talon, I rode in the front and the back and came to the conclusion that the front gives a better ride. On most inverts, especially Batman rides, I head straight for the back but found the front row on Talon to be more intense than the back. The ride even felt faster in the front and I can’t explain why I had this perception.
Despite the hassle of getting into the park, I managed to have a pretty good time with only one mishap: a bug flew into my mouth on Talon. I didn’t notice this until after the ride, when my mouth felt odd, and I reached in, only to extract a dead bug. Oh well.
I've never been to Dorney on a day where there were any crowds at all, so it's weird to hear about it being crowded. I'm not a local, but we used to visit every year before PPP. Most recent visit was a few years ago on a roadtrip through the area. They had just gotten S:UE from Geauga Lake.
I've always loved Dorney. I've mentioned on here many times my love for Talon. Hydra is decent, with the best opening ever, and Steel Force is what Magnum wants to be when it grows up. I'd love to go back sometime soon, but the PPP trips no longer really lend themselves to it like they did back in the days when we used to fly into ABE or PHL for it.Last edited by Tommytheduck, Tuesday, August 12, 2014 9:45 PM
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